The players as well as the coaches lament over a lack of infrastructure for the sport in India.
The room was crowded with people, lively with chatter and encouragement. Audience wereengrossed in the matches being played. All the three squash courts in the club were occupied with matches. Players were warming up and waiting around the courts for their turn.
The quarter-finals of the third edition of the Century Squash Bangalore Openstarted at the Bangalore Club today.
“This is the third edition of the Bangalore Open which we started in 2019. It has been a great response this year as 323 players from more than 20 states have participated in the game,” said Abhilash, organiser of the event.
He added that the tournament is a national event, catering to the entire country and the results of the games affect the players’ ranking and seeding on a national level.
The event started on May 11, 2022, and was conducted at both the Catholic club and Bangalore club for the first two days. The games will continue at the Bangalore club today onwards. Sixty quarter finals are scheduled for today.The players are divided in 15 different age-categories.
Kaavya Bansal, a player from Mumbai, said that it is an important tournament for her. “It is my first time playing here. I have played atmany international events too. Squash is very fun sport. It’s a small game but I like the fast-paced nature of the game. This event will help my ranking too.”She has been playing squash for six years.
Jaya Khandelwal, mother of one of the players in the tournament also said that it is an important place for players as they get to know their real calibre due to the competition.”My daughter won the under-13 category in 2020. This is her second time. It’s a very important competition for players. Everyone here trains hard but during the match, they get to know their calibre and where they stand.”
Abhilash explained the challenges they faced in organising the event. They were not able to organise the games in 2021 due to Covid.”We were worried this year [as well] but somehow we conducted the games. One challenge is to prepare a schedule that suits all players as many are school-going children,” he said.
A squash coach from Delhi said that the event is mainly important for the ranking of the players nationally.
He also talked about the condition of squash in the country.”Squash is overlooked as a sport. The day it will be added to the Olympics the craze for the game will grow. There is a lack of facilities and quality infrastructure in the country for squash. We also have to get players from grassroots levels and train them.”
The squash infrastructure in India is not of a substantial standard. The players as well as coaches say they are not comfortable with the infrastructure.
Shiv Kapur, a volunteer in the event and a squash player said that squash in India lacks in quality of training and infrastructure. “I have been to foreign countries too for squash games and Ifind that we lack in the quality of training and facilities that are provided in India,” he said.
Kaavya also said that there is a disparity in quality training and facilities in the country.”In India, the top players will rank among the best players in the world. But the type and quality of coaching and facilities in India depend on the city. In places like Mumbai and Delhi, there are many good centres but in other places, the scenario is not the same [sic].”