SRFI future plans

Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) is 50 years old, and this week in Hyderabad represents another step along the way to the declared intent of General Secretary N Ramachandran to produce a world champion.

Mr Ramachandran has been in the post since 1997, and is also serving his second term as President of the Asian Squash Federation. A player himself, until 18 months ago, he first explained how the Qatar Airways Challenge came to be in Hyderabad. “WISPA approached the SRFI to see if we would be interested in holding a major event, and of course we were delighted to have the opportunity. We agreed that we would handle all the organisation and funding for the event, apart from the prize money, bringing in co-sponsors to make the event viable.”

Nicol David and Rachael Grinham with organisers“The court was brought in from our ICL Academy in Chennai, the first time it has been out of the city, and of course ASB fitted the glass floor which has gone down very well with all the players. We’re delighted with the event, the coverage it has received in all the National press, and live TV coverage from the quarters on. There aren’t many places you could get a solid four hours of prime time TV coverage for squash, as we did for the quarters. We’d be delighted to host it again, and happy to do any event with WISPA who are a pleasure to work with, especially Andrew Shelley.”

Surbhi Misra, Anwesha Reddy and Deepika PallikalMr Ramachandran is also rightly proud of the progress of the ICL Academy in Chennai. “We started in 2000 with three courts, about 15-20 students and one coach. We went to five courts in 2004 with a fixed all-glass court, and held the world junior championships. ICL Cements have been very gracious sponsors in this and all our events. We now have eight courts, all convertable for doubles which allowed us to host the World Doubles Championships in 2004, around 300 students training every day under nine coaches. We have the services of Major Maniam as head coach until the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

Our juniors are performing very well, Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa have won the British Junior Open, we performed well in the recent Asian junior championships, and we were pleased to be able to blood our promising juniors in the qualifying for this event. We’ve come a long way in just six years. Our aim is to eventually produce a world champion, and to win a medal in 2010. We see the coming Junior Championships in New Zealand as a building phase, we have a tough draw but we’re hoping to perform well.”

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About Cyrus Poncha
I was born and lived in Bombay before moving to Chennai in 2001 to coach the Indian national squash team....what a journey its been!!

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