Squash Nationals from Today

Squash has finally arrived in Kerala. Technically a national level competition in squash took place in the state last year as part of the National Games. But this will be the first time that a national championship will be hosted by Kerala. The 63rd edition of the senior national championship is to be held at the modern air-conditioned Chandrasekharan Nair squash stadium in Thiruvananthapuram from July 7 to 12.

The squash facility at the Kerala Police’s Chandrasekharan Nair stadium has three singles courts and one for doubles events. It has a seating capacity for 3000 people. The Kerala Squash Rackets Association is indebted to the Kerala Police for all the encouragement in giving squash a thrust in the state. Special mention needs to be made of Sri.Manoj Abraham IPS who is the Inspector General of Police – Trivandrum Range and also the Central Sports Officer with the Police who has been guiding the Association to help build a strong state contingent. Mr. Manoj Abraham ensured that the Kerala Police also develops a team and towards this end even sent 2 officers to get trained at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai, along with a few other aspiring players from Kerala. It must be mentioned here that KSRA and the Kerala Police had trained so far 52 players through two special camps. A squash academy in the state capital with the cooperation of the Kerala Police is also on the anvil.

For the national championship in all 333 entries in the mens’ and womens’ sections, had come in from 22 states. The list includes World number 21 and nine times winner, Saurav Ghosal, who lost to Harinder Pal Sandhu last year. As the top seed, Saurav will be keen to wrest the title from his friend and World number 58 Harinder for whom the last year’s success was his first. Others in the men’s section who would demand attention include Ravi Dixit, Kush Kumar, Sandeep Jangra, Vijay Kumar and Gaurav Nandrajog though Mahesh Mangaonkar will be missed. In addition will be an array of junior players eager to make a mark.

In the women’s section, the focus will be on top seed Joshna Chinappa, the reigning champion and 13 times winner. However the world number 18, the highest ranked Indian on the international circuit, Dipika Pallikal will once again skip the event. Also absent will be the talented Anaka Alankamony, who studies in the USA. Otherwise there will a bunch of highly resourceful junior talents like Harshit Kaur, Sunayna Kuruvilla, Akanksha Salunkhe and others who could give a good test to the seniors.

There are eight categories of competitions in the Championship: men, women, men: (35 years and over), 40 years and over, 45 years and over, 50 years and over, 55 years and over and professional, Winners in Mumbai 2014: Men: Harinder Pal Sandhu; women: Joshna Chinappa; Men: (35 yrs): Rishad Pandole; ( 40 years):Manish Chotrani; (45 yrs): Darius Surti; (50 yrs): Deepak Moolani; (55 yrs): Vijay Jaini; Professional: Paramit Singh.The wonderful year that squash had in India in 2014 what with an historic gold medal in the commonwealth games (courtesy Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal) and the Asian Games in Incheon (Saurav Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Kush Kumar) not to forget the success in the Asian Beach Games in Phuket later, has helped in the sport growing in stature. The enthusiasm in Kerala is a spin off of that. The KSRA hopes to capitalize on the new gained awareness to spread the game to other parts of the state through a government-private participation effort. Infrastructure needs are the first to be looked into and the Association is confident that by 2020 when hopefully squash finds a place in Olympics, Kerala would have a strong representation in the national squad.

The seedings: men: 1. Saurav Ghosal, 2. Harinder Pal Sandhu, 3/4Kush Kumar; 3/4 Ravi Dixit; women: 1. Joshna Chinappa; 2. Sachika Ingle; 3/4Lakshya Ragavendran; 3/4Harshit Kaur Jawanda

The Honorable Sports Minister of Kerala Sri. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, will inaugurate the Championship. Sri.Debendranath Sarangi IAS (Retd.), former Chief Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, and the newly elected President of the Squash Rackets Federation of India will preside.
Other dignitaries include Smt.Padmini Thomas (President, Kerala Sports Council) and Sri. Ananthakrishnan IPS (Additional Director General of Police). Sri. Manoj Abraham IPS, Inspector General of Police- Trivandrum Range and the Chairman of the Organising Committee will deliver the welcome address.

Media Relations,
SRFI

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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