An Indian Gold, Silver and Bronze at the British Junior Open. These are what dreams are made off!!
Dear Friends, Parents & Players,
This is the biggest thing that has happened to Indian Squash at the junior level! The British Open is the ‘Wimbledon’ of Squash and in this 2017 edition India had 3 players finishing 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the boys under 19 category. In the 1970s Anil Nair won this event and in more recent times our current National Champion Saurav Ghosal did in 2004.
Velavan Senthilkumar won the coveted Drysdale Cup (becoming the 3rd only Indian male). A very close final against mate Abhay Singh who incidentally was unseeded in the event. And bringing home the bronze was Adhitya Raghavan. These 3 have been training partners for year all coming out of the same stable – the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai.
On looking back at the Junior National results of 2011 – Velavan finished 7th, while Abhay did not qualify of the main draw in the under 15 category. Adhitya was 5th in the Boys under 13. A lesson to players; working hard with dedication, discipline and devotion does pay off.
Considering the enormity of this achievement it is pertinent to mention that all this would not have been possible without the Indian Squash Academy and for that matter the vision of Mr N. Ramachandran. The academy is his brain child! Mr N. Ramachandran’s effort, dedication and the money spent over the past two decades has enabled us to achieve what we have at this event.
Of course there is no taking away the players’ hard work right through their careers to achieve this. What makes it even more special is that all the three, Velavan, Abhay and Adhitya have gradually improved due to their very steady work ethics. It has to be said that Velavan in particular has had a magical year, as he had won the Asian Junior title in September 2016 (becoming only the 2nd Indian male to do so).
The coaches, especially at the Indian Squash Academy, need to be applauded. Major S. Maniam laid the foundation for which we are seeing success today. He along with Hari Om Tripathi, V. Laxman and Gautam Das were instrumental in putting in place a players’ development programme. Balamurugan who has been the pillar continuously works with the elite players. Kalimuthu has also been motivating the players to excel for the past decade. More recently, after the shift from being a player to a coach, Deepak Mishra has been of huge benefit to the academy. Santhosh, Sathish and Siva have been an excellent support. The federation’s great move in bringing in Coach Achraf El Karargui from Egypt has immediately paid dividends. The Egyptian’s way of laying stress in training mentally and physically and more importantly having him in the Indian corner against the Egyptians has proved beneficial.
Of course, there are so many other people who have been involved in the Indian Squash Academy and also the Federation which had done its part to ensure we have success at this level. No doubt we would have never been able to do this without the support given by the SRFI, Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
To sign off, I wish to say this has truly been a memorable event and it should be our endeavour from here to strive hard and reach the pinnacle of success in our sport by being World Champions!
A Very Proud Coach of the ISA & SRFI