The 75th National squash championship, to be hosted by HCL, and offering a total prize purse of Rs.11,39,000, promises to reach a spectacular climax with an outdoor glass court at its campus at Sector-126 in Noida.
The championship, scheduled to start with the qualification matches on Decmeber 9, with Joshana Chinappa and Mahesh Mangaonkar as the leading players in the women’s and men’s sections respectively, will be played at two venues.
The qualification and early rounds will be played at the Siri Fort Squash arena. The men’s event will in its entirety be played at the HCL campus from December 13 to 16.
"The 46-acre green, landscaped HCL campus, where an outdoor glass court will be set up for the final matches, will lend a dimension of stunning visual appeal to the game," said a release from the organisers.
Having won a record 12 national titles, the country’s No.1 player Saurav Ghosal has opted out of the championship, at the end of a hectic season.
"I feel it is in my best interest to rest my body and mind at the end of a gruelling year. I believe this break will help me prepare in the best possible way for the new season," said Saurav, when contacted.
Vikram Malhotra, Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, Ranjit Singh, Vijay Kumar, Jamal Sakib, Abhishek Pradhan, Gaurav Nandrajog, Yash Fadte and Ashish Kelkar will be the other leading players competing in the tournament.
In the women’s section, Urwashi Joshi, Sunayna Kuruvilla, Aparajjitha Balamurukan, Sachika Ingale, Sanika Choudhari, Sachika Balvani, Mayuri Namasivayam, Tanvi Khanna and Anna Avasthi will be the other top players, making yet another attempt to challenge champion Joshana.
There will also be events in the various age groups for seniors, apart from an event for professional coaches.
The tournament is likely to have about 530 players in all in the men’s and women’s sections. The top eight players will get the prize money in the men’s, women’s and professional coach categories. Only winners and runners-up will be awarded cash prizes in the other six categories.
The men’s and women’s champions will get Rs.1,50,000 each and the runners-up Rs.80,000.
"We have been supporting squash for three years now, focusing on both the junior and senior categories and have created platforms and tournaments benchmarked to international standards’’, said the Chief Strategy Officer of HCL, Sundar Mahalingam.