Indian squash has taken a small step towards achieving big goals with the launch of the PSA Challenger Tour, supported by HCL .

There will be a USD 12,000 PSA squash event for men and a USD 6,000 event for women, to be held at the Jaypee Green Sports Complex in Greater Noida from Friday.

“We are keen on doing PSA events in India. We want to have small events, to grow our base. We want to have a long line of players who can perform well by 2022, in the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games,” Cyrus Poncha, Squash Racquets Federation of India (SRFI) secretary general, said in a press conference here on Thursday.

In a 24-player field, Vikram Malhotra, the World No. 63, and Farida Mohamed, the World No. 50, will be the top seeds among men and women, respectively.

‘Excited to play’

The 17-year-old Farida was happy to return to India for an event, after her successful outing in Chennai last year in the World junior championship. “It is not a big tournament, but I am excited to play. It will help us improve our ranking. We have similar conditions in India and Egypt. I need this tournament before the PSA Worlds,” said Farida, who was a member of the gold winning junior team.

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There will be an added incentive for the women’s champion in the form of a guaranteed entry in the World Championship to be held in Egypt in October.

Tourney for juniors alongside

The organisers of the Challenger Tour have put national junior events concurrently to help the junior players benefit by watching the professional players at the same venue. There will be a national junior event from August 26 at the same venue, to coincide with the semifinals of the PSA event.

The second tournament of the Challenger Tour is scheduled to be held in Chennai from October 12 to 16. It will be a USD 20,000 event for men and USD 12,000 event for women. The other two events will be decided in due course of time.