CHENNAI: There is finally some good news for the second string of squash players in the country. Apart from two Professional Squash Association (PSA) Challenger events that the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) is planning to conduct next year (it was approved by Sports Authority of India recently), it is understood that the national body is also looking to have a domestic PSA meet just for the Indian players. Tentatively, it is planned between February and March.
“To activate squash across the country, we proposed a domestic PSA Challenger event ($10,000) to benefit transition players and Group B players. They will get respective event ranking points for that. After various discussions, PSA has permitted one domestic event for men and women (Challenger Tour 10) next year,” said Harish Prasad, SRFI’s National Development Officer. As of now, SRFI is looking at either Mumbai or New Delhi to conduct the domestic event since many national-level players are from the two cities.
Barring elite players like Joshna Chinappa, Saurav Ghosal, Mahesh Mangaonkar and Vikram Malhotra — who have taken part in at least an international tournament or two since the nationwide-lockdown began in March — the players in the next level have not had a chance so far to step on to the court. If conducted, it will be the first national-level squash event in the country since March.
That apart, Kerala and Karnataka units have put their hands up to conduct state championships in December end and January end, respectively. It was in October that SRFI gave permission for the associations to hold closed state championships. Goa and Rajasthan are also planning to conduct these competitions.
Technical assessment of elite players
Analysing foot placement, energy leaks, running mechanisms are a few things that have become common in sports now with the advancement of technology. More federations and academies are opting for technical assessments before chalking out a detailed training regime to enhance the players' performance. The national squash federation is also planning to conduct a similar sports science assessment for their elite players this month end or in January at the Centre of Sports Science, SRMC in Chennai.
The likes of Joshna and those in the city might undergo the test first and once the pandemic situation gets better, players from across the country will be assessed. This is done with an eye to improve their performance in the lead up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.