Squash: Administrative blunder costs India chance to compete in World Championship

It is learnt that SRFI officials were not able to get the necessary clearances in time from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for the World men's team squash championships.

File Photo: Although India was not a title contender, it boasted a competitive side with world number 10 Saurav Ghosal (L), 48th-ranked Ramit Tandon (2nd from right) and 55th-ranked Mahesh Mangaonkar (extreme right) in its ranks.   -  PTI

The national men’s squash team has been denied the chance to compete in the World Championship in Washington from December 15-21 after the Sports Authority of India 9SAI) failed to give the required approval in time, the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) has claimed.

“The SRFI was not able to get a meeting with SAI and that is why the approval did not come and SRFI didn’t register the team. It is really sad that players have to bear the brunt of this,” a source told PTI.

A statement from an SRFI spokesman said that the federation had written to the SAI for approval on June 14, a little over a month before the last date for submitting India's entry to the biennial tournament.

SRFI had submitted its Annual Calendar for Competitions and Training - in which the World Championship participation was mentioned - to the SAI in January 2019 but a meeting for the same was convened only on July 30. The last date for the submitting entries was July 16. 

The spokesman also said that the World Squash Federation had declined the SRFI's request to extend the last date.

The players, both men and women, are already struggling for guidance with the SRFI not being able to appoint a foreign coach after Egyptian Achraf Karargui left on a bitter note ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, calling the Indian federation "unprofessional".

India was not exactly a title contender but has a competitive men’s team comprising world number 10 Saurav Ghosal, 48th-ranked Ramit Tandon and 55th-ranked Mahesh Mangaonkar.

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Defending champion Egypt is the favourite to lift the trophy as the United States gears up to host the event for the first time. India hosted the prestigious tournament in 2007 in Chennai.

The last edition was held in Marseille, France in 2017.

Host USA will be joined by 22 teams representing Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong China, Ireland, Jamaica, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Wales.

Since the tournament’s inception in 1967 in Australia, the men’s world team championship has been staged in 12 different countries.

(with inputs from PTI)