PSA Challenger Tour events to be held in Chennai from March 27

The HCL-SRFI Indian tour begins at the Indian Squash Academy; Mahesh Mangaonkar and Sunayna Kuruvilla will be the top stars in action from India.

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International squash action returns for the first time in over a year with the PSA Challenger Tour hosting the HCL-SRFI Indian Tour from March 27 to 31 at the Indian Squash Academy here. Organised by the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), the Chennai leg of the HCL Indian Tour will feature a men’s PSA Challenger 20 event and women’s PSA Challenger 10 tournament.

Eight nationalities will be represented across the two draws, with players from Canada, Egypt, France, India, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United States all travelling to Chennai to take part in the tournament. World No. 47 Mahesh Mangaonkar (India) will be the top seed for the men’s draw, while compatriot and World No. 69 Sunayna Kuruvilla gets the top billing for the women's event.

“The pandemic caused a major disruption in the sports sector with countries sealing their borders and deferring all sports to control the spread of COVID-19. No major tournament was organised in the last year and therefore, our excitement for the upcoming HCL SRFI Indian Tour is natural,” SRFI secretary-general Cyrus Poncha said.

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This tournament is being organised keeping in mind the government’s decision to start sporting events, but with no major attendance as well as the COVID-19 protocols, he added. He said it was also in line with the Federation’s mission to prepare players for the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

The first HCL-SRFI Indian Tour will take place under strict COVID-19 protocols, a press release said.

All players and officials will be allowed movement within a bio-bubble (a secure perimeter including players’ hotel and match venue) to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection.

Participants will be tested prior to travelling to the tournament and then twice (on March 26 and 29) upon arrival.