Colonel Muhammad Shahid Abro of the Corps of Artillery, currently serving as Deputy Chief of Staff Operations and Support, MONUSCO peacekeeping mission (Congo) repeated history in Kinshasa, DRC on April 7, 2019 as he won the Congo Annual National Squash Championship for the second time. Colonel Shahid Abro won the same title ten years ago in 2009 at Kinshasa when he was deployed as a Military Observer.
Congo Annual Squash Championship is the second most coveted sports tournament in the Central African states after the much exciting Congolese Football Cup – an event contested by famous football clubs of Congo, Angola and Zambia. Kinshasa, the third-largest city in the African continent, is famous for its sporting events. The best three Congolese squash players, all of whom participated in the recently concluded National Squash Championship, are currently affiliated with renowned Egyptian squash clubs namely Heliopolis, Zohour and Smouha Club where they train with the likes of Mohamed El Shorbagy (World No. 1 ranking), Tarek Momen (World No. 3) and numerous other top 20 players of Egyptian regional squash clubs.
The final match was played between Colonel Muhammad Shahid Abro and Bianco Kabiula, with the latter losing his title after 7 years in a fiercely contested final match witnessed by almost 2000 people. Local squash enthusiasts, expatriates, leading businessmen, members of the diplomatic staff, UN military officials and ex Congolese squash champions were among those in the audience. The 23-year-old reigning champion Bianco, fondly nicknamed “Thunder” due to his speed and agility, had not dropped a single game in the tournament which featured 32 players including foreigners from Jordan, Denmark and Egypt. With his back against the wall after losing the initial two games 15-13 and 11-6, Colonel Abro showcased tremendous grit with a brilliant comeback to take the next three games 11-9, 11-9 and 12-10 to end what the Congolese media referred to as “Bianco’s invincibility”. The 45-year-old Colonel was lauded by all for his tremendous effort, better technique and strategy. Chants of Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Army Paindabad raised by everyone in attendance resonated in the arena after the famous victory. Widespread media coverage was given to the event with leading Congolese newspapers carrying headlines such as “Pakistani athlete ends Bianco’s reign” and “Pakistani squashman remains victorious”.
In his victory speech, Colonel Abro dedicated the win to Shuhada of Gayari who embraced martyrdom on the same day seven years ago. Colonel Abro, while commanding 107 Field Artillery at that time, was in Goma and remained instrumental in the recovery operations till the end.
In a squash career spanning three decades, Colonel Abro is the recipient of “National Colour” as well as “Inter Services Colour” and remained Army and Inter Services Squash Champion for 12 years. He announced his retirement from competitive squash competitions after this famous victory in Congo.
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