Abdul and Mohammed with their squash idols

Squash stars could be world class with support from Stoke-on-Trent businesses

Two brothers from Haywood Academy in Burslem are rising up the England Squash national junior rankings.

Abdul Khan, aged 15, is ranked 27th in the UK under 17s category and 61st in the under 19s category. Younger brother Muhammad Khan, aged 14, is ranked 21st in the UK under 15s category and 59th in the under 17s category.

Abdul said: “I have been involved with squash my whole life, I love being on court and have a dream and desire to be the best player in England by the time I am 21. I would love the opportunity to play in tournaments all over the UK, including the British Open, and I’d really like to play in some of the European tournaments, including the Dutch Open but as a family we will need some support to fulfil our dreams.”

On court in Manchester

Some of Abdul’s highlights from the last 12 months include winning three major competitions in the under 17s category (Grove Park Junior Open, Diana’s Summer One Day and Fairways Lodge Junior Open), and achieving impressive results in the under 19s category at the Halifax Junior Open (placed second) and at the Leicester Squash Junior Open (placed fourth).

The large collection of medals

Mubashir Hassan, the boys’ father, said: “I know that with a coach or some lessons, the boys would be in the top five within six months. At the moment we manage to take them to ranking events in Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester but there are events in Scotland and other parts of the UK and it’s just too expensive.”

In order to improve their rankings, the brothers need some coaching and to enter more competitions. Sponsorship funding will help to cover the cost of squash lessons, equipment, tournament entry fees and transport to ranking events.

The City Learning Trust has already sponsored the brothers and hopes that other businesses will help them to reach their potential.

Our Chief Executive, Carl Ward said: “Abdul and Muhammad are super students and we’re really proud of their achievements. We’re hoping that with a little bit of extra funding they will be able to take part in more ranking events and rise even higher in the national and world rankings.”

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The City Learning Trust is set to break new ground by putting lifelong education at the heart of how we adapt locally to a changing world. Its vision, ambition and commitment to pupils will drive its success.

Joan Walley

Former Stoke-on-Trent North MP