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Carla Khan eyeing successful return to world circuit

01 August, 2007

KARACHI: Carla Khan is looking to return to the international circuit with a bang later this year but has almost ruled out her participation in this month’s POF WISPA Open in Wah — Pakistan’s premier squash event for women, writes Khalid Hussain.

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KARACHI: Carla Khan is looking to return to the international circuit with a bang later this year but has almost ruled out her participation in this month’s POF WISPA Open in Wah — Pakistan’s premier squash event for women, writes Khalid Hussain.

The former Pakistan champion told ‘The News’ in an interview from London that she has recovered from an illness that has kept her away from competitive squash since last summer and is planning to make a comeback within the next few weeks.

“The doctors thought my return would be in 2008, but now with the progress that I have made in such short time it will be this year,” Carla said.

“But as much as I would have like to, I don’t think I will be able to play in POF-WISPA Open,” she said. “Because I would like to be a 100 percent fit on my return,” she added.

Carla, a granddaughter of Pakistani squash legend Azam Khan, said that she is itching to be back on the world circuit. “I cannot wait to play a tournament after such a long time out,” she said.

A former world No. 21, Carla has been out of action since collapsing during last year’s South Asian Games in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The winner of the inaugural POF-WISPA Open, she was unable to defend her title in the 2nd POF event last September because of sickness.

This year’s POF WISPA tournament is scheduled to be held in Wah from August 22 to 27. The event would offer a prize purse of $10,900.

Carla, 25, is still the highest-ranked Pakistani player in the world even though her ranking has dropped to 91 this month as compared to a career-high No. 21 in the summer of 2004.

She won the inaugural POF WISPA Open in 2005 by beating England’s Genna Gates in the quarter-finals, Malaysia’s Delia Arnold in the semis and Malaysian second seed Sharon Wee in the final 3-0.

In Carla’s absence, Wee won the crown comfortably last year. Wee is currently ranked No. 19 in the world and if she does decide to defend her title in WAH this year she would mostly likely be the top seed.

However, Carla might be seen in action in Pakistan soon as the national squash officials are planning to host another world ranking women’s event later this year.

The Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) is making efforts to hold a WISPA-ranking tournament in Islamabad in October and by then chances are bright that Carla would already be back on the circuit.

A PSF official told this correspondent that the federation would certainly be sending Carla an invitation to take part in the proposed event. “We invited Carla for the POF-WISPA Open but she has decided to miss it because of fitness reasons. We are now hopeful that she would be playing in the other world-ranking event planned for October,” said the PSF official


 
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