Squash girl braves obstacles to reach destiny | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Squash girl braves obstacles to reach destiny

8 March, 2020
Fathoum Issadeen Pic: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe
Fathoum Issadeen Pic: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe

She is a legend in the making and Fathoum Issadeen dedicates most of her time to developing herself into a squash champion having made the grade at several domestic meets.

She bagged the Women’s Open Squash Championship at the SLS Open Championships 2020 in January this year and is ranked as the number one Sri Lankan women’s squash player.

However, the path to the top has been very rocky and hard for this 22 year old girl. “It was never easy. I had so much to contend with.

“There were many obstacles placed in my way and some coaches made it very difficult for me.”

When it came to the South Asian Games it was another bitter experience for Fathoum at the hands of the authorities.

According to Fathoum, she was made to understand that if the number one player, Mehiliya Methsarani, who was overseas did not present herself, she (Fathoum) would make the trip as the number one player and captain the team for the Games.

However, if Methsarani returned there would be a trail for both players. Fathoum in the meantime acted as captain and was selected for the team.

But Methsarani on her return to the island was given the top slot and the captaincy without the promised trial.

Fathoum contends the whole episode deprived her of a possible individual medal for Sri Lanka at the South Asian Games. It was under these trying circumstances coupled with sheer grit and determination that brought Fathoum to the number one spot in Sri Lanka women’s squash.

“I told myself that this time I am going to win and I did,” said Fathoum.

Fathoum began playing squash at the tender age of five. Being the sister of six squash playing elder brothers it was no wonder that the little girl too was drawn to the game.

“I used to carry her and run around the courts for her to play the shots,” said father Naushad Issadeen. Yassir and Yaseen too have been Sri Lankan squash champs.

Fathoum gratefully acknowledges her coach Mohamed Rizwan who has been there for her from the beginning to date. “He is like a rock,” she said.

Squash is Fathoum’s all encompassing passion. She spends six days a week on practicing, physical and gym training and swimming averaging around six hours a day. She avoids food with sugar and oil whenever she can.

She also sacrifices hanging out with friends most of the time.

Among the many awards won by Fathoum are the Sri Lanka National Squash Championship- Women’s Open Championship 2019, Air Chief Marshall Harry Goonetilleke Memorial Trophy awarded to the Women’s Open champion, bronze medals in the South Asian Games 2016 and bronze team medal at the South Asian Games in Nepal 2019.

In 2016, Fathoum was ranked 208 globally by the Professional Squash Association and due to financial constraints she was not able to get this ranking as a payment is needed that was earlier borne by the government.

She hopes that in the future the government will extend more financial help as she claims that her expenditure for practice and preparation alone costs her father over Rs 160,000 a month.

An old girl of Holy family Convent, Bambalapitiya, Fathoum gratefully acknowledges the support given by the school’s Mother Superior, Sister Chandani and the staff.