Arjuna award winner Anil Nayar feels Olympics slot can help Squash grow

Anil Nayar, who was the first Indian to win the Drysdale Cup in London, feels that a slot in the Olympics could help Squash grow further.

Anil Nayar with his wife Jean at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Anil Nayar belongs to a generation when squash was considered quite a niche sport in the country. With not many facilities available, the game would barely feature beyond the top-rung sporting circles.

But times have changed. Nayar -- who was the first Indian to win the Drysdale Cup in London in 1965 and was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1969 -- feels that a slot in the Olympics could help the game grow further.

“It will be great if it becomes an Olympic sport. It will give a big uplift. It will get a lot more people playing squash because the Olympic status will be huge,” Nayar told Sportstar on Thursday.

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In town to launch his biography, ‘Lucky: A portrait of a legendary Indian-American squash champion ’ -- which is written by his wife Jean Nayar -- the squash ace believes that the game has witnessed steady progress in India.

“It’s going to grow organically. It's going to get richer with different kinds of people from different classes of society coming to play squash. There is infrastructure available for that. Squash is a finite sport, So you're not going to get too much spectatorship. You aren't going to get 20,000 people,” he said.

“But having said that, we have the centre in Chennai (Indian Squash Academy), which is doing excellent work. There are certain centres in Calcutta, Delhi that are doing really good work. So, it's not going blockbusters but I think there's a good pace,” Nayar said.

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