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