CHENNAI: Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) announced many changes to the national circuit on Saturday, during a webinar conducted by secretary-general Cyrus Poncha and national development officer Harish Prasad. The body will revamp its website and launch a mobile app in coming weeks.
Player registrations for tournaments will now be done only on it. SRFI is allowing U-11, U-13, U-15 and U-17 girls to also take part at the U-19 level.
“This will incentivise young girls to face older counterparts and gain match exposure,” said Prasad in the webinar. However, boys can only play in one bracket.
For both junior and senior nationals, there will be a pre-qualification draw if entries in a category are more than 64. This is to ensure budding players don’t play higher-ranked ones in early rounds. An updated points system is expected after junior nationals.
There are also changes in entry and withdrawal of players from events. Closing time for registration for all tournaments is now 6 pm, instead of 11.59 pm. A player may withdraw up to three hours (9 pm) on the same day after closing of entries without any penalty. However, entry fee will be forfeited. If a player withdraws after, from the second time onwards, his/her ranking points will be docked.
“Previously, everyone was staying tuned between 11 and 12 midnight. The system also gets jammed. We felt somebody has to be there during the closing time to help them,” added Prasad.
“Earlier, even if a player makes payment, their names sometimes won’t appear on the list because of connectivity issues. After verifying details, we will add names. A player would have already registered thinking his/her rival is not on the list and that they can improve their rankings. Upon seeing the new list, players come and argue with us. This change of time is to avoid confusions.”
The state closed championships — a two-star event — will now be considered as a one-star ranking event. If a venue has more than recommended courts, the host will be encouraged to organise a plate event guaranteeing two matches for the boys and girls in the U-11 category only. This is to encourage newcomers.SRFI will soon conduct five more open webinars on nutrition, sports psychology, strength and conditioning, and injury prevention.