NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for six squash courts at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here in the presence of Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
The project has been sanctioned at a cost of Rs.5.52 crore across an area of 750 square metres and has an estimated completion time of six months.
The facility will have six single squash courts, of which three can be converted into doubles courts using movable walls.
Delighted to lay the foundation stone of squash courts at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. Should encourage potential squash players and bring out hidden talent. More such public facilities will truly democratise sports in India. Thank @KirenRijiju for the initiative. pic.twitter.com/iHz6j9k7W4— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) December 16, 2020
Jaishankar, who himself is avid squash player, hailed the project.
"India has tremendous sporting talent. It has able and enthusiastic coaches who would give time to building that talent. What was missing was the place where the talent could meet the coaches," Jaishankar said.
"I am sure this will be a model facility and moreover a catalyst to see many more facilities come up. We have to democratise sport, it must not be a privilege.
Most of the sports in which we have done well is because it has been democratised. I hope in the case of squash, it is one step in that direction," he added.
The sports minsiter said that this new facility will produce world champions going forward.
"To have a space in the National Stadium itself has its own significance. To have a space in this complex will give an edge to that facility.
"This six court squash facility is not only going to be World-class but also a Centre of Excellence where we will be producing world champions and I am sure upcoming budding players will take maximum benefit of this centre. Our effort is that players should not have to look around for facilities, we will provide them the facilities," he added.
Squash has been one of India's most successful sports at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, with the likes of Sourav Ghosal, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa winning laurels for the country.
The event was attended by various dignitaries including, Sports Authority of India's director general Sandip Pradhan, Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI)secretary general Cyrus Poncha and NBCC Director (Projects) Neelesh Shah among others.