CHENNAI: THE Squash Rackets Federation of India’s (SRFI) election on Saturday saw national coach Cyrus Poncha being appointed as secretary-general. With the new administrative role, Poncha has stepped down from his previous position and as it stands, there won’t be an immediate replacement for the 43-year-old. But there is no need for panic. The federation has decided to appoint Dheeraj Singh as Director of Coaching. Dheeraj, who has participated in Asian Championships, is based out of Jodhpur. And SRFI is looking for a team of coaches to help him out.
“I am no longer the national coach. We will be looking at appointing some regional coaches in the coming days,” Poncha told this daily. “While Chennai has always been the headquarters, there are players across the country. These regional coaches will watch over the proceedings at the respective centres and report to Dheeraj. Dheeraj will also keep travelling to see the progress each player has made.”
As this newspaper reported earlier, SRFI’s plan to rope in temporary foreign coaches has already begun. While Egyptian Amir Waghi was not able to assist the seniors during Asian Championships in May, the juniors are lucky. Ahead of Asian Junior Individual Championship — starts next Wednesday — a group of 32 athletes from U-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 categories are currently training at Shiv Nadar University in Greater Noida, under the tutelage of British coach Chris Ryder. “It was a two-week programme that started on 10th. It will end on 22nd. I was there during the first week,” he said.
As the new secretary general, Poncha’s main target is to make sure that the sport reaches more states and districts. Having been a part of the circuit for almost 20 years, Poncha is aware of what is lacking where. “As always, the main goal is to have a world champion from India. But my main agenda is to promote the sport in areas that have no background, and increase the number of squash courts and players in the country.”