Assore & Baldwin Parkview Open, Johannesburg, (9-13 April’17) 

It proved to be so near yet so far for the Chennai lad Velavan Senthilkumar, the precociously talented young man from the Indian Squash Academy. The current Asian junior champion and keen to have a smooth transition to the professional world of PSA events, Velavan was close to winning his first PSA event in Johannesburg. Read more of this post

ASF Coach of The Year Award

Dronacharya 005CHENNAI: India’s national squash coach Cyrus Poncha has been chosen from a list of 13 nominations from seven countries for the 2016 Asian Squash Federation Coach of the Year award by the Asian body. He is the only Indian in this year’s list of awards (players and officials together) which was released by the Asian Squash Federation.

The ASF has recognised Poncha’s role in the string of achievements that India’s senior and junior players had brought in last year. The highlights were the World doubles in Australia where Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal Karthik had won a mixed silver, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika as also Joshna and Harinder Pal Sandhu had won a bronze medal each. Then in the Asian team Championship in Chinse Taipei, India had won a silver medal in the women’s section and bronze in the men’s section. Further in the South Asian Games in Guwahati in February, India had a rich haul of four medals including three gold and one bronze for a historic show. Velavan Senthilkumar’s rise to become the Asian U-19 gold medal winner was another plus in Poncha’s coaching career.

This is not the first time that Poncha has been nominated for this prestigious award. He had won the ASF Coach of the Year award previously in 2004, 2009, 2012 and in 2014 as Team coach ( a distinction was brought because there was a separate award for Individual coach that year). In addition he was the ASF Junior Coach of the Year award winner in 2003, 2008 and 2010. Incidentally Poncha was the recipient of the Dhronacharya Award of the Government of India in 2005.

The President of the Squash Rackets Federation of India Mr Debendranath Sarangi while congralutating the national coach said, “He is an excellent coach, consistent in his approach.” Mr Sarangi, who is also the Vice President of the ASF added, “he was openly acclaimed in the various ASF meetings I had attended.”

The various awards, four for players and an equal number for Coaches, will be presented at the forthcoming Asian Individual Championship scheduled here later this month.

S.R. Suryanarayan

 

A slice of history in Aberdeen (North of Scotland Open, 28 Mar-2 Apr)

VikramMahesh Mangaonkar and Vikram Malhotra became the the first two Indians to contest a PSA Tour event final away from India. The two featured in the title round of the PSA world Tour event and in keeping with the seedings, second seed Vikram won but only barely. Such was the fight that third seed Mahesh gave. Read more of this post

WSF Level 1 Course (27-31 March’17)

6a8b6e1b-9da8-48fe-9a30-f52c6744d875.jpgThe WSF Level  1 Coaching Course was held at NSCI Mumbai from 27-31 March 2017. 29 Coaches from across the country attended the Level 1 course with 9 existing coaches doing the Level 1 refresher course.  The course was conducted by Dalip Tripathi.

Aryaman and Siddhant impress in Hamdard Delton Championship (New Delhi, 7-11 Feb)

Set in beautiful surrounding, even if in a densely populated area, the Hamdard Delton Junior Championship, a four-star event, conducted in the Hamdard Public School, Sangam Vihar, New Delhi had a good response. With four glass-back courts, the settings were perfect to meet the hectic schedule. There were ten age categories in which competitions were held. Except in the boys U-11 and U-19 sections the seedings went perfect with the top seeds in each category emerging victorious. The two who proved exceptions were Aryaman Adik of Maharashtra in the U-19 section and Siddhant Rewari of Maharashtra in the U-11 category. Read more of this post

India to host 2018 World Juniors 

glass-court-eaFor the third time since 2002, India will host a world level event with the world junior championship in July 2018 Chennai at the Indian Squash Academy after winning the rights from the World Squash Federation. The championship will be in two phases, first the individual events and then followed by team competition. “Indian squash has had a history of conducting mega squash events. I am delighted that we have won the bid to host the 2018 junior world championship. We look forward to welcoming the global players to our championships,” said Mr Debendranath Sarangi, President, SRFI. India had staged the Junior men’s individual and team events in 2002 and then in 2009, India had again played hosts for the Junior men/women individual events and the Junior women’s team event, all in Chennai.

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India emerge Asian Junior Team Champs (HK, Feb 1-5)

da82b8e5-475b-4c0b-a5c4-c732fa32fccbIndian boys scripted a grand gold medal win in the Asian Junior Team Championship by beating Malaysia 2-0. This is the second time that India is winning this crown, the earlier being in 2011 in Colombo.Though in terms of seeding, India as top seed and Malaysia as second seed, it seemed on expected lines but the pressure of a title-match can always tilt the balance either way. Read more of this post

President SRFI, D. Sarangi elected VP ASF

Debendranath Sarangi, IAS was elected Vice President of the ASF with two-thirds majority at the 37th ASF AGM held in Hong Kong. Mr Sarangi, who is the President of the Squash Rackets Federation of India, replaces the sitting VP and Management committee member Mr Syed Razi Nawab of Pakistan. He is the second Indian to become the Vice President of the ASF. Mr N. Ramachandran, the former WSF President had earlier served in this post of the Asian body. Read more of this post

Indian Success at the British Open 2017

An Indian Gold, Silver and Bronze at the British Junior Open. These are what dreams are made off!!

Dear Friends, Parents & Players,

This is the biggest thing that has happened to Indian Squash at the junior level! The British Open is the ‘Wimbledon’ of Squash and in this 2017 edition India had 3 players finishing 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the boys under 19 category. In the 1970s Anil Nair won this event and in more recent times our current National Champion Saurav Ghosal did in 2004.

Velavan Senthilkumar won the coveted Drysdale Cup (becoming the 3rd only Indian male).  A very close final against mate Abhay Singh who incidentally was unseeded in the event. And bringing home the bronze was Adhitya Raghavan. These 3 have been training partners for year all coming out of the same stable – the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai.

On looking back at the Junior National results of 2011 – Velavan finished 7th, while Abhay did not qualify of the main draw in the under 15 category. Adhitya was 5th in the Boys under 13. A lesson to players; working hard with dedication, discipline and devotion does pay off.

Considering the enormity of this achievement it is pertinent to mention that all this would not have been possible without the Indian Squash Academy and for that matter the vision of Mr N. Ramachandran. The academy is his brain child!   Mr N. Ramachandran’s effort, dedication and the money spent over the past two decades has enabled us to achieve what we have at this event.

Of course there is no taking away the players’ hard work right  through their careers to achieve this. What makes it even more special is that all the three, Velavan, Abhay and Adhitya have gradually improved due to their very steady work ethics. It has to be said that Velavan in particular has had a magical year, as he had won the Asian Junior title in September 2016 (becoming only the 2nd Indian male to do so).

The coaches, especially at the Indian Squash Academy, need to be applauded. Major S. Maniam laid the foundation for which we are seeing success today. He along with Hari Om Tripathi, V. Laxman and Gautam Das were instrumental in putting in place a players’ development programme. Balamurugan who has been the pillar continuously works with the elite players. Kalimuthu has also been motivating the players to excel for the past decade. More recently, after the shift from being a player to a coach, Deepak Mishra has been of huge benefit to the academy. Santhosh, Sathish and Siva have been an excellent support. The federation’s great move in bringing in Coach Achraf El Karargui from Egypt has immediately paid dividends. The Egyptian’s way of laying stress in training mentally and physically and more importantly having him in the Indian corner against the Egyptians has proved beneficial.

Of course, there are so many other people who have been involved in the Indian Squash Academy and also the Federation which had done its part to ensure we have success at this level. No doubt we would have never been able to do this without the support given by the SRFI,  Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

To sign off, I wish to say this has truly been a memorable event and it should be our endeavour from here to strive hard and reach the pinnacle of success in our sport by being World Champions!

A Very Proud Coach of the ISA & SRFI