8th World University Squash Championship, Chennai from 1-7 September 2014
Aug 29, 2014 Leave a comment
The eighth edition of the World University Squash Championship will be hosted by the SRFI in association with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) from September 1 to 7, 2014 at the Indian Squash Academy. This is the first time that this event is coming to India and when AIU bid for it, it decided to seek SRFI’s assistance to host the competition. Under the auspices of SRFI, the Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association supported fully by the Tamil Nadu government will conduct the championship. This is also the first time that India is participating in this event.
For the Indian Squash Academy, which since its inception in 2000 has hosted several world-class competitions over the years, the latest is one more feather in its cap.
It was in 1995 that the idea of organizing a squash event for University-level students first cropped up, basically seeing its worldwide popularity. The World Squash Federation gave its full support and promptly found dates in the international calendar for its launch in the August of 1996 in Maastricht in Netherlands. Since then this Championship was conducted every two years till 2002 in Cardiff (GBR), Pilzen (Czech) and Linz (Austria). The next edition came four years later in 2006 in Szeged (Hungary). Two years later Cairo hosted it and the last one in 2010 was held in Melbourne. The event now comes to Asia, albeit after a four year gap.
Expectedly this championship has proved an additional forum for the top young squash players to exhibit their talent. Some of the top names who have graced this championship over the years include Thierry Lincou of France, Karim Darwish, Mohammed Abbas, Ramy Ashour (all Egypt) and the like and in the women, Raneem El Weleily, Omneya Abdel Kawy (both Egypt) and Annie Au (Hong Kong).
In all, 45 entries including 18 women have come in from 11 countries aside from India for the Championship, which will witness both individual and team events separately. The participating countries are: Canada, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Slovenia, South Africa , UK and Czech Republic.
Nour Nasser El Tayeb is the highest ranked female (world no. 25) while Mazen Sabri also from Egypt is highest ranked male (world no. 34) in the event.
The Indian team comprises Ravi Dixit (world ranked 148), Maninder Pal Singh Sandhu, Hiteswar Singh Riar, Aparajitha Balamurukan (world ranked 109) and Sachika Ingale (world ranked 154).
The individual championship phase (September 1 to 4), which precedes the team competition (September 5 to 7), will see three male and two female players from each country in the fray. The team championship is a mixed event with two male players and one female representing a country. In 2010, Great Britain was the team championship winner while Joel Hinds (GBR) and Annie Au (Hong Kong) were the men and women individual winners.