Together Again After 40 Years, Once Bright Hopes Now Hopes Guiding Hands
By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The principal city and commercial centre in Pakistan, Karachi will be the home for the forthcoming ITTF South Asia Hopes Week; proceedings will commence on Monday 28th December and will conclude on Saturday 2nd January.
Staged at the Habib Public School, famous for producing World class hockey players, at the helm of proceedings will be two coaches, who 40 years ago were not only aspiring players but they were also Men’s Doubles partners.
Ahmed Dawlatly will be the South Asia Hopes Week Head Coach; Arif Khan will fulfil the role of the South Asia Hopes Competition Manager. They will be the duo in charge of week.
In 1975 they combined at an Invitational Tournament in Lagos, Nigeria and they proved a formidable partnership.
They reached the quarter-final stage of the Men’s Doubles event and gained a medal for their efforts.
“I remember it very well as that was my first international medal and only the second time that I’d represented Pakistan”, said a nostalgic Arif Khan. “I was 15 years old.”
It was for Arif Khan early steps in his international career, later he was to enjoy further success, notably winning the Men’s Singles title on consecutive occasions at the South Asian Games in 1987 and 1989.
“Ahmed being the senior partner with more experience guided and helped me to combine well with him”, continued Arif Khan. “It was because of his guidance we were able to give a very good performance.”
Most certainly it was a special moment for the teenager.
“There was a special assembly in my school, the principal of the school introduced me to all the students and showed my medal, I became a hero”, reminisced Arif Khan. “What a proud moment it was!”
The Asia Hopes Programme
A maximum of two boys and two girls per national association may be nominated; South Asia being one of the four regions involved in the overall continental schedule.
The others are South East Asia, West Asia and Middle Asia. Later in 2016, an Asian Hopes Week will be staged in East Asia from which players will be selected to attend the World Hopes Week.