PSA INDIAN CHALLENGER #3 & WISPA INDIAN CHALLENGER #1

Squash Rackets Federation of India announced holding of USD 6,000 PSA Indian Challenger # 3 and USD 4000 WISPA Indian Challenger # 1 events in Chennai from September 7 to 12, 2009.
These two professional men’s and women’s squash tournaments being held at the Indian Squash Academy will bring together budding talents from India and across the globe under one roof and compete for the top honour. This is a huge platform for the young players to make progress in their respective professional circuits and earn valuable world tour ranking points and some prize money too, to start moving up the International ladder. These events give best of chance especially for Indians to without having to travel out of India for gaining exposure. 
Popularity of the game in India, the growth of standings of Indian players on international
scene and the standard of domestic players have been on the rise for some time now.
Number of international events held in India in the past have played catalyst role and the positive results have been noticeable.
 
Egged on by these encouraging results and the financial support by the Union Ministry of
Youth Affairs and Sport, the SRFI has also decided to host three more Challenger events before end of this year.
 
The events proposed to be held are PSA Indian Challenger #4(US$ 10,000) & WISPA Indian Challenger #2(US$ 8,000) from October 5 to 10, 2009, PSA Indian Challenger #5(US$ 6,000) & WISPA Indian Challenger #3(US$ 4,000) from November 16 to 21, 2009 and PSA Indian Challenger #6(US$ 10,000) & WISPA Indian Challenger# 4(US$ 8,000) December 7 to 12, 2009. All these events are sponsored by the Government of India under the scheme — for preparation of Indian teams for the Commonwealth Games 2010.
 
Expressing gratitude and appreciation of the Central Government’s constant patronage for
the game of Squash, Srivatsan Subramaniam, Secretary General of SRFI said “This support ensures that our players are able to compete in international tournaments at home and are able to get the much desired exposure. We are thankful to the ministry for their support.”
 
For the record, the SRFI had hosted number of International events besides the World Junior (Men and Women) event. The PSA Indian Challenger # 1 a US$ 6,000 event was held from 3-8 November 2008 in Chennai, which witnessed India’s Ritwik Bhattacharya defeating compatriot and National Champion Saurav Ghosal in the finals.
 
Kolkata was the venue for the PSA Indian Challenger # 2 a US$30,000 event held from 16-21 March 2009. Adrian Grant of England defeated Egyptian Hisham Ashour for top honours.
 
As for the September 7 to 12, 2009 event, players from Europe and Asia will be vying for honours in both the groups and it is heartening to note that a host of Indians will be making their debut in both PSA and WISPA in this tournament.  The tournaments offers a prize fund of US$ 4,750 for the PSA Indian Challenger and US$ 4,000 for WISPA Challenger. Qualifying rounds will be played on the September 7th and 8th. 
The field in the PSA event boasts of Dylan Bennett of the Netherlands ranked 71 in the world and the depth could be assessed from the cut with the eighth player Harinderpal Sandhu of India is ranked 141in world.  Inasmuch as players with rankings from 71 to 141 are seeded up to eight.  Indian stars Siddharth Suchde, Gaurav Nandrajog and Ravi Dixit (wild card) will also be vying for honours. 
 
The PSA qualifying phase also has a comprehensive line up with several overseas players, from Italy, Egypt, Hong Kong and Japan. Among the Indians Karan Malik, Ramit Tandon, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Abhishek Pradhan, Vikas Jangra and Sandeep Jangra, will participate in the qualifiers.
 
The main draw PSA players (countries are in brackets followed by PSA world ranking):
DYLAN BENNETT  (NED) 71, MAZEN GAMAL  (EGY) 105,  JAMES SNELL  (ENG) 106 , SIDDHARTH SUCHDE  (IND) 111, AHMED HAWAS (J)  (EGY) 120, AQEEL REHMAN  (AUT) 124, ANSON KWONG  (HKG) 140, HARINDER PAL SANDHU  (IND) 141, NARESH KUMAR  (IND) 158, LEO AU (J)  (HKG) 197, GAURAV NANDRAJOG  (IND) 206  and RAVI DIXIT (J)  (IND) 305WC.
This WISPA India Challenger #1 provides entry level tournaments enabling players, particularly the up and coming Indian stars at junior levels, to eventually reach higher levels in World.
The top seed in this event is Irina Assal from Russia. We do hope an Indian will lift the title in this first edition. Anaka Alankamony, Aparajitha Balamurukan and Ankita Sharma have just enrolled as WISPA members and will be playing their maiden tour event. India can now boast of having 7 women as WISPA members along with 12 PSA members.
 
The main draw WISPA players comprise:
IRINA ASSAL (RUS)  75, PUSHPPA DEVI (MAS)  77, CARMEN LEE (HKG) 136, ANWESHA REDDY (IND) 209, SURHBI MISRA (IND) 240, ANAKA ALANKAMONY (IND) 240, APARAJITHA BALAMURUKAN (IND) 240, ANKITA SHARMA (IND) 240, SAUMYA KARKI (IND), HARITA OMPRAKASH (IND) and SHRIA KHATRI (IND).

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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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