Four Challenger tournaments end with Chennai spectacular
Squash in India has received a significant boost with the launch of a new squash circuit.The PSA and WSA made separate announcements today concerning the Indian Squash Circuit, with four events taking place next month.
Sponsored by major Indian steel company JSW, the JSW Indian Challenger Circuit will begin in Jaipur on October 2, with two tournaments scheduled to take place in Mumbai on October 9-12 and October 16-19 before the circuit comes to a thrilling climax with the Grand Final on October 26-29 in Chennai.
The finale will take place in conjunction with the Indian Junior National Championships, which will see almost 1,000 junior players from all over India come together to compete in the nation’s most prestigious junior squash competition.
“We are very excited to announce the formation of the first ever Indian Squash Circuit to take place across the nation during October,” said PSA Asia Representative Ritwik Bhattacharya, a former Indian No.1 (pictured right his actress wife Neha Dupia) who is working hard to create new tournaments and to raise the profile of the sport.
“India is a huge market for the sport, and with top-ranked players in both the men’s and women’s tours, we hope that this latest development can help pave the way for more Indian juniors to get involved in squash and help bolster the sport’s popularity across the region.”
With Indian squash reaching new heights in recent years through the achievements of World No.16 and five-time PSA World Tour tournament winner Saurav Ghosal and Commonwealth Games gold medal winners Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa (below), the new JSW circuit shows the burgeoning success of squash across India.
“We at JSW have always believed that there is a huge talent pool for the sport in the country and have through the last many years, made a strong commitment to the sport, having nurtured talent at the Jindal Squash Academy, which now has to its credit, 7 international players, 22 national players and 46 state level players,” said Mustafa Ghouse, CEO of JSW Sport, the tournament’s primary sponsor and recipient of the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar from the President of India, in recognition of company’s efforts to develop athletic talent within the country.
“A challenger series such as this will provide young talent in the sport the appropriate boost and instill in them the confidence needed to perform on an international stage.”
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: “The initiative is a fantastic one and will be of immense value to our fraternity and in particular to the young Indian professional players and also for aspiring professionals.
“We welcome JSW to our community of sponsors and are once again delighted to be working with Ivy Sports, who were responsible in delivering arguably India’s best squash event to date.”
Tommy Berden, Acting CEO of the WSA, added: “We are delighted to welcome the JSW Indian Squash Circuit to our Women’s World Tour calendar.
“With the recent success of Indians Joshana Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, two of the top players on the Women’s Tour, this initiative will go a long way in developing our sport in India and Asia.”
Current Indian squash players are excited by this newest competitive opportunity in their country. Dipika Pallikal, India’s No1 women’s squash player and winner of the country’s first squash gold medal in the Commonwealth Games Women’s Doubles last month, with Joshana Chinappa, said: “The Challenger Series is a great platform for youngsters to hone their game by playing with some of the top players from across the world, and I strongly believe that that the sport will benefit from it.
“I also hope that we are provided with more such opportunities to host international events of such calibre which can only benefit the popularity and exposure required for the growth of the sport.”
Five-time national champion Bhattacharya (pictured at the press conference, second left, with Pallikal and India’s top-ranked man Saurav Ghosal, centre) is also keen to see the growth of squash in India.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters in the game to gain some experience and exposure,” said the PSA/WSA Representative for Asia. “It is also is a great exhibition for the promotion of squash for enthusiasts, fans, as well as India Inc, who can have a visual image of the top athletes from the Professional World Tour in the healthiest sport in the world as voted by the Forbes Magazine.
“Everyone connected with the game of squash in the country is very excited by the arrival of the Indian Challenger Circuit. JSW’s support of Squash is the beginning of huge wave of development of the game and certainly paves the way for future champions who will not need to go abroad to gain valuable ranking points and improve their global rankings.”
For more information on squash in India, click here: http://www.indiasquash.com
Picture courtesy of WSA