Squash: SRFI plans to conduct more PSA-level tourneys in India

A slew of measures have been announced to develop more world-class players from the country.

Cyrus Poncha: “Having more events in the country and bringing in top international players and events will benefit the complete ecosystem.”   -  R. Ragu

The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), in partnership with global technological conglomerate HCL, announced on Wednesday a slew of measures to develop more world-class players from India and improve the overall prominence of the sport in the country.

Among the plans is the proposal to increase the number of PSA-level tournaments in the country. Around 12 PSA Challenger tournaments for both men and women, with prize money ranging from USD 5,000 to USD 20,000, will be conducted across the country over the coming year. India hosted only two PSA events last year.

The Challenger tournaments offer lesser prize money when compared to the PSA World Tour events but is targeted at benefitting the country’s lower-ranked and young players in their climb up the PSA rankings. “All of our top and mid-level players are going outside India to play PSA events. We want to have PSA events in India,” said India’s national squash coach Cyrus Poncha.

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“It will not benefit a Saurav [Ghosal] or Joshna [Chinappa] right now because they are playing higher level, but having more events in the country and bringing in top international players and events will but it will benefit the complete ecosystem,” he said.

The plans are, however, pending government approval of funds for prize money. If approved, the first of these tournaments could take place as early as August, 2019, in Noida, Poncha confirmed.

High-performance camps

The SRFI also plans to conduct multiple high-performance camps for the players which will be geared towards improving game tactics, strength and conditioning and will also focus on nutritional direction and psychological counselling. Apart from player development, the federation will also focus on skill enhancement camps for existing Indian coaches and referees, in attempt to meet its long term goal of having six WSF (World Squash Federation) certified referees and 300 certified coaches (five WSF level-3 and 25 level-2) by 2022. There are currently 13 level-2 coaches in India.

With the program, the federation aims to have over 8,000 registered junior and senior players, 30 PSA-ranked men and 20 PSA-ranked women players from the country by the end of the year and have over 10 players in top-75 of PSA rankings by 2022.