Pakistan’s Hamza Khan won the World Junior Squash Championship 2023 on Sunday after beating Egypt’s Mohamed Zakaria, becoming the country’s first champion since 1986. Hamza beat Zakaria 3-1 during the tournament that was held in Melbourne, Australia. According to PTV Sports, the last time a Pakistani made the finals was Amir Atlas in 2008, and the last winner from Pakistan was Jansher Khan in 1986. Reacting to his win, Hamza – who had won the U-15 title at the British Junior Open Squash Championship in 2020 – thanked his coach, his managers and his parents for their support. Congratulations poured in for Hamza for making the country proud. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif thanked the squash player for bringing the title back to Pakistan after 37 years. The premier hoped that Hamza would make Pakistan “invincible” in the sport in the near future, Radio Pakistan reported. He also congratulated Hamza’s parents, coach and all his team members. President Arif Alvi said that Pakistan had an unprecedented and yet unmatched supremacy in squash in the past. “I had personally watched many finals among our giants. After a long time, a resurgent ray of hope. Well done,” he said. “Great news for Pakistan. Well done Hamza,” said PML-N’s Mohammad Zubair. “There was a time Pakistan ruled the world of squash. Now we have another star in the making!” said ex-chairman of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Dr Umar Saif. Squash legend Jahangir Khan also congratulated Hamza on his victory, however, lamented the state of the sport in Pakistan. “I think that it should not have taken us so many years for this victory. In the past, Pakistan had its own position in squash and should have had continuous victories because of the level we used to play at,” said Jahangir. He added that even right now it was not too late and Pakistan can regain its lost glory. “We can improve squash and run it on merit. People running squash should be experts and [be appointed on] merit,” said the former squash player. He lamented that it was a pity that Hamza’s coach could not go with him to the tournament. “If the [squash] federation is run in a professional manner, [Pakistan] can win every year. There is no shortage of talent in Pakistan,” said Jahangir. Peshawar boy Hamza has a strong squash pedigree. The former World No 14 Shahid Zaman is his maternal uncle and the legendary Qamar Zaman happens to be a close relation. Zaman’s late wife was the sister of Hamza’s father. Hamza Khan had trained under the supervision of Pakistan Army’s Coach Asif Khan for two months before heading to Australia to partake in the championship. The Pakistan Squash Federation also took to Twitter to celebrate Khan’s win. “Every shot was a testament to his dedication and passion for the sport,” the national squash federation posted on social media. “The squash court witnessed an unforgettable battle as Hamza played with sheer energy, exceptional skills, and a brilliant tactical mind against the formidable Egyptian player Zakaria!