10:58 am
23 Jun 2024

Aamir Atlas Khan Heads Record World Championship Field

2 Jul 2008

Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan has been nominated as top seed in the 2008 Men's World Junior Championship, in which a record 163 players from 37 countries will compete in Zurich from 28 July to 1 August.

The biennial World Squash Federation event will be followed in the Swiss city by the Men's World Junior Team Championship, from 2-7 August. With teams for the first time from the Cayman Islands, China, Ecuador and Guatemala, the team championship boasts a record entry of 32 nations.

China, hosts of the 2008 Olympic Games, are making notable progress in the world of Squash: The nation made its international debut in the Women's World Junior Championships in Hong Kong in 2007 after hosting its maiden Tour event in Shanghai in 2004.

A semi-finalist in the individual championship in 2004 and 2006, Aamir Atlas Khan will be hoping that it will be third time lucky in Zurich. The 17-year-old from Peshawar faces New Zealander Lui Syder in the 128-man third round draw.

If successful, Khan would become only the third Pakistani to win the title - but the first since his legendary uncle Jansher Khan lifted the trophy in Australia in 1986, before going on to win the senior World Open crown for a record eight times!

Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy, also 17, is the No2 seed, while Switzerland's Nicolas Mueller and Frenchman Gregoire Marche - who contested the 2008 European Junior Championship final - are third and fourth seeds, respectively.

Nicolas Mueller will lead home interest in the event. The 18-year-old from Hirzel, near Zurich, became the first Swiss player to win the European Junior title in 2007.

With the top four seeds reflecting the strength of squash in Asia, Africa and Europe, Pan American interest in the event will be led by USA's Todd Harrity and Canadian Kelly Shannon - both 17/32 seeds - while Oceanian eyes will be on New Zealander Evan Williams and Australians Matthew Hopkin and Jacob Alexander, also 17/32 seeds.

As a result of the unprecedented entry list, two early 'feed-in' rounds have been introduced - with most team players entering the fray at the third round stage.