N. Ramachandran, honorary life president and patron of the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), on Thursday said the federation is looking to get potential medal-winners into the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), talking about the roadmap for the 2028 Los Angeles (LA) Olympics.
He said it was essential for the medal prospects to train in Europe.
Speaking at the press conference for the official announcement of the 79th National Squash Championship, to be held from November 17 to 23 at the Indian Squash and Triathlon Academy (ISTA) here, he said: “Now that we are in the Olympics, we hope to get into the TOPS program. If you look at a country like Malaysia, one of their top players Sivasangari Subramaniam is not training in Malaysia. She trains in Europe, and she plays the leagues. So, that is what we want our players also to do - train in Europe during the summer season. That is what we are asking the government. It’s a policy decision.”
“I think only hockey and athletic, and maybe shooting, federations get that type of support. Don’t forget, athletics, shooting, and all that have many events. In LA, you’re (squash is) only given singles (men & women). So, for two medals, whether the government will put that type of money on the table to send, say, at least twelve players outside (abroad) remains to be seen.”
“The International Olympic Committee has not even decided on the criteria as to who will play in squash at LA; whether it is continental placings, or it is PSA rankings, we don’t know. And even when we checked with World Squash (Federation), they said they’ll take a few months.”
“But as far as we are concerned, we are going to the government and say this is what we want. ‘If you wish to have a medal in squash in LA, our players especially the younger ones should stay and train in Europe at least for 3-4 months every year.’ This is what we are going to ask them.”
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