Press Reports (2000)

SQUASHING IT IN SANGLI

 

Mid-Day 22/06/2000

TENNIS and badminton have enjoyed a long tradition in the little district of  Sangli in Maharashtra but Squash, unknown until now, will soon make its debut thanks to the efforts of the Squash  Racquets Association of Maharashtra and Dr.Nitin Kareer, the ex-Collector of Sangli.
Kareer, an IAS officer, is basically a sports enthusiast and Sangli is poised to benefit from his sporting affiliations. He is presently posted in Pune. “Sangli has a long tradition of tennis and badminton but squash is unknown to the town,” said Dr Kareer. “My predecessor, Sanjay Ubale, initiated the move to construct a squash court and the funds were provided from the MP’s Development Fund. The PWD engineers too were constructed according to proper specifications. Later, excess provision was made for the wooden flooring.” 

Dr Kareer was introduced to squash at the training institute in Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in Mussourie and now has bigger plans to woo sports enthusiasts of Sangli to the game. He was naturally delighted when the SRAM conducted the ISP-Ugar Sugar Handicap tournament at Kolhapur recently. 

“I was thrilled,” he says. “Mahendra Agarwal, honorary secretary, SRAM, heard of our efforts to promote squash in the region and rushed to Sangli to meet me and have a first hand account of the facilities available. He encouraged us and agreed to provide a free coaching camp for the members of the Squash Racquets Association of Sangli.” 

Dr. Kareer says the introduction of squash in Sangli will generate fresh talent and provide a competitive edge to those who choose to take to the sport. But, he says more needs to be done and that includes conducting more camps and tournaments. “we are also in the process of constructing two squash courts at Pune, an we will need SRAM president Khalid Ansari’s support.” He reveals. 

“The camp at Sangli had an encouraging response. About 20 boys and girls benefited from the coaching of Chandrakant Pawar and Yakub Shaikh. Tennis buffs too have shown a keep interest. We already have conducted a tournament but from next year we plan to have the Sangli Open as an annual feature,” Dr. Kareer says. To streamline the sport in the region, the Squash Racquets Association of Sangli formed with members from the government, players and enthusiasts associated with squash. “the recognition pf squash by the state government has also come at an appropriate moment,” says Dr.Kareer. “Now there will be annual school game tournaments organised by the government, besides players and coaches will be entitled to receive prestigious awards.” 

The parent body in the state has ambitious plans to spread squash in all the districts of Maharashtra.  “This is an excellent move by the SRAM and in particular, Ansari,” says Dr.Kareer. “I am sure the other districts too will benefit from SRAM’s efforts. The association also has my support and we will try to take squash to the interiors of the state.

TITLE FOR JOSHNA

 MID-DAY                                                                      20-06-2000

Kuala Lumput, June 20 Joshna Chinappa defeated her Chennai colleague Vaidehi Redy 6-9,9-7, 6-9, 9-3, 9-1 in the final Malayasian Junior Squash Open. Chinappa established a commanding 8-0 lead in the decider and there were to be no comebacks for Reddy.

Coach Cyrus Poncha, who trains Reddy, was close to tears.

Despite this win and her previous track record, Chinappa has been ignored for the Indian team which is scheduled to play in the Asian Seniors Championships at Hong Kong from July 5-12.

However, there are places for Reddy and Supriya Balsekar, both of whom have been beatn by Chinappa.

SRAM THREATENS LEGAL ACTION

 ASIAN AGE                                                       

MUMBAI : The Squash Racquet Association of Maharashtra has threatened to take its parent body, Squash Racquets Federation of India, to court of the latter continues “to undermine the state body’s authority”.Addressing media persons here on Friday, SRAM president Khalid Ansari alleged that SRFI was being vindictive towards the state body. “SRAM is taking the game to middle class level which no one has tried  before and this has made certain elements envious with the result that SRFI, instead pf supporting the cause, is encouraging state clubs to sabotage the SRAM activities,” he alleged.

JOSHNA CHINAPPA RETAINS SQUSH TITLE

FREE PRESS JOURNAL:                                                 19-6-2000  
CHENNAI : INDIA'S Joshna Chinappa retained the girls U-15 title defeating compatriot Vaidehi Reddy 3-2 in the Pepsi All Star International Junior Squash Championship, at Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. The 13-year old Chennai girl, who was the top seed, overcame a strong challenge from her rival before clinching the final 6-9,9-7,6-9,9-3,9-1, according to a release from her grandfather PM Belliappa here.  Joshna had earlier outplayed Sally Lou of Malaysia 9-7,10-8,9-2 in the semi-final.

TRAIN AND GAIN 

MID-DAY                                                                  18-06-2000


 MUMBAI:More often than not, realization dawns only after one hits the earth. It wasn’t different at the Bombay Gymkhana lounge on Friday evening, when members of Team MID-DAY, who toured Malaysia to avail of squash training, and their parents met for a get-together.

The Mumbai youngsters received training from renowned coach K H Ong, father of world junior squash champion Ong Beng Lee.

The young  squash freaks are still living and cherishing, the hard days on court in Kuala Lumper.  “A damn good experience,” is all they blurt out at first, exited at the prospect of recalling those delightful days. It’s the courts, the high level of squash, the general enthusiasm for the game.. it’s all so amazing!” said Manek Mathur and Bipin Batra in unison.

“It’s the courts out there,” agreed Vikram Malhotra. “That is the best part. There are so many of  them.  And everybody can get in and play on them.  We all played so hard but it was fun. Real fun. The best part was the training from Ong. I liked the fast game they play out there, so I asked Ong to teach me some deceptive shots. He asked me to improve my length (of shots) and learn the basics first before going for style bhaigiri,” Vikram said with a laugh.

In fact all the youngsters agreed that the hard practice and on-court play is what makes the scene in Kuala Lumpur so interesting for budding players.  “ I normally practiced for an hour and half.  After coming back it’s at least two-and-half-hours everyday. I felt I could do a lot better with harder practice after going there,” Vikram said.

“The best part over there is the kind of interest coaches take in the players,” said Rahil Shah.” They go and watch the players.  The coaches here are enjoying themselves,” he added. “My court movement has really improved after the trip,” said Manek Mathur, adding that he is also working a lot harder.

Compounding to the problem here, at least in Mumbai, is the small pool of players, Rahil Shah and Bipin Batra echoed.  “The competition here is really not enough. You keep coming across almost the same set of players in all tournaments,” they remarked. “In Malaysia, every tournament has at least 50 players. In contrast, in Mumbai even top notch of competitors,” Manek pointed out.

Almost all the youngsters gushed about the flush of sponsorship in Malaysia.  “Only the top players attract sponsorship here.  Over there all top 50 players are sponsored,” Bipin said.

But one aspect all of them agreed on was the quality of Ong’s coaching. “It was an awesome experience,” said Vikram. “Ong was very friendly and not like a typical coach. He knew exactly what we needed and never pushed us,” Rahil and Manek said.

 

Kuala Lumpur trip helps Indian Squash juniors gain cutting edge 

MID-DAY, MUMBAI 10-06-2000


Kuala Lumpur have a lot in common. Both are cities of action – be it on the financial, sporting or social fronts. Team MID-DAY, comprising 13 junior squash, went to this garden city in Malaysia to train with K H Ong, former international squash player and father of world junior boys champion Ong Beng Hee.

At the helm of affairs in Kuala Lumpur is Tunku Imran, Malayasia’s first national squash champion, President Emeritus of the World Squash Federation and the force behind the country’s bid for the 2006 Asian Games.

It was in, infact, Tunku Imran’s initiative that helped squash become part of the 1998 Commonwealth Games. And, as he says, “There remains one dream– to scale Mount Olympic.”

Tunku Imran’s father was the former Ling of Malaysia.  But the sporting prince has no airs about his royal connection.  He mingled with Team MID-DAY, hosted a dinner for them, had lunch with the young enthusiasts and regularly inquired after their comfort.  And comfortable it sure was.

The Kuala Lumpur trip gave the squad a healthy mix of on court training, psychology, off court drills and some very high level competition.

It had all been planned by K H Ong, who was like a father, friend and guide to the youngsters.  They doted on this warmhearted man, spent hours in his pro shop, discussing their kit requirements and got them for a song. On the last night, Team MID-DAY presented the coach with a “Thank You” card signed by all.  The participants are, in fact, talking of next year and the possibility of going to Subang Jaya again.

The parents who accompanied the kids felt the visible improvement in their game after the 15-day training.  There was a silent tear as the squad left Kuala Lumpur.  In K H Ong they had come across a human body who understood the juniors. “His was a class act,” as the unanimous option.

 

CHINAPPA IGNORED FOR HONG KONG

MUMBAI ASIAN AGE:2-6-2000


Joshna Chinappa, the Tamil Nadu-based third ranked player in the country, has been left out of the Indian probables for the Asian Women’s Squash championship to be held at Hong Kong from July four to 12.  The squash Rackets Federation of India has picked five players: national champion Mekhla Subedar (Deolali, Maharashtra), Videhi Reddy (Tamil Nadu), Deepali Anwekar, Priyanka Yadav and Supriya Balsekar (all Mumbai) for a camp here from which four will make it to the Indian team.

Joshna Chinappa left out of squash probables list

FREE PRESS JOURNAL, MUMBAI: 2-6-2000

Joshna Chinappa, the Tamil Nadu-based third ranked player in the country, has been left out of the Indian propables for the Asian Women’s Squash Championship to be held at Hong Kong form July 4 to 12.

The Squash Racquets Federation of India  has picked five players-national champion Mekhla Subedar (Maharashtra), Videhi Reddy (TN), Deepali Anvekar, Priyanka Yadav and Supriya Balsekar (all Mumbai) – for a camp here from which four will make it to the Indian team.

While Chinappa has been excluded because she did not participate in the nationals which took place a day after she arrived with a junior title from Scotland. SRFI has ignored the fact that Balsekar is a British passport holder. 

BEHL, JUNEJA HIT OUT

ANGRY YOUNG MEN PEEVED AT BEING LEFT OUT OF NATIONAL SQUAD

MID-DAY, MUMBAI: 3-6-2000

The  Squash Racquets Federation of India’s (SRFI) decision to omit Akhil Behl and Gaurav Juneja from the national team for the Asian Championships has not gone down too well with the duo. 

“The national team should consist of the best available players,” says former national champion Behl. “Squash is no longer the criterion should always be how good.  There is no reason why our level will drop if one keeps at it.” In fact, he said, “the SRFI should be a little more concerned about how players perform internationally. 

If they are genuinely concerned about the game, they should give all a fair shot, and not go by a stupid rule that was made God knows how many years ago.” 

Juneja is equally confused. “I really don’t know what’s going on. What the whole tamasha is about,” he said. “I have had a bad experience with the SRFI , and now that I am no longer with them, I won’t like to say much. But just playing the nationals should not be the (selection) criterion. A player may get injured or lose from precisely at the moment. It’s not giving them a fair chance. If they want the game to survive, they should take other tournaments into consideration as well,” he added. 

“Squash right now needs to rid of all the politics,” Juneja stressed, almost as an afterthought.  All patrons of the game will join in the chorus.  That’s for sure.”

WHEN SONNY TURNED MAN!

 MID DAY: 18-6-2000

Any sports programmed can be considered a success if it gets parents as involved in the day to day goings-on as the players themselves. If this be the criterion, Team MID-DAY’s trip to Malaysia to give a group of young squash players from Mumbai a glimpse of the best in business, was nothing if not a success.

We are looking forward to another such trip was the common refrain of all parents at the recent get-together organised at the Bombay Gymkhana for the all those who went for the 21-day tour. “My son (he was the youngest of the lot) went there as a boy.  He has come back as a man, “Irshwin Balwani said. That just about sums the feeling of the parents who accompanied the young talents, who among others, got coaching from K H Ong, father of world junior squash champion Ong Beng Lee. 

The facilities there are amazing.  It was a grand tour, not just for the young ones, but the parents enjoyed every bit of it as well,” said Kapil Mathur whose son appears over the moon ever since the trip.  “There was intense training and every bit of it as was nicely done. I can definitely see the difference in my son’s (Manek’s) game,” his wife Mrs. Mathur pointed out. 

“The children got to play quite a few tournaments. And its amazing how popular squash is in Malaysia and they are doing helluva lot to promote the game there.  There is government schemes and just about anyone can play on the public courts over there, unlike here in Mumbai, where only the elite few get a chance to play, or you have to be member of a club. You don’t need to be club members over there,” she added. “At first I was worried how my son would stay with the other children and without us.  Once we went there, he just absolutely refused to accompany us anywhere,.  He needed his independence and his own time on court.  There was no sight-seeing with him or anything of that sort.  And he has retained that independence even after coming back to Mumbai. I think that is the biggest gain of the trip,” Balvani said. 

“You have to make sports accessible to the masses to popularize it.  And they (in Malaysia) know how to do it,” said Biswajit Samantray, whose son also went the team.

ONG  A  CLASS  ACT

MID-DAY                                                                                       Date : 11-6-2000


KUALA LUMPUR,  June 10 in  common. Both are cities of action ---   be it on the financial, sporting  or  social fronts. Team MID-DAY, comprising 13 junior squash, went to this garden city in Malaysia to train with K H   Ong, former  international squash player and father of world junior boys champion Ong Beng Hee.

At the helm of  affairs  in Kuala Lumpur is Tunku Imran, Malaysia’s first national squash champion, President  Emeritus of the World  squash Federation  and the force behind the country’s bid  for the 2006 Asian Games.

It was, in fact, Tanku Imran’s initiative that helped squash become part of the 1998    Commonwealth  Games. And, as he says, “ There remains one dream—to scale Mount Olympic.”

Tunku  Imran’s father was the former King of  Malaysia. But the  sporting prince has no airs about his royal connection. He mingled with Team MID-DAY, hosted a dinner for them, had lunch with the young enthusiasts and regularly inquired after their comfort. And comfortable it sure was.

The kuala Lumpur trip gave the squash a health mix of on court training, psychology, off court drills and some very high level competition.

It had  all been planned by K  H Ong, who was like a father, friend and guide to the youngsters. They doted on this warm hearted man, spent hour in his pro shop, discussing their Kit requirements and got them for a song. On the last night, Team MID-DAY presented the coach with  a “Thank You” card, signed by all. The participants are, in fact, talking of next year and the possibility of going to Subang Jaya again.

The parents who accompanied the kids felt the visible improvement in their game after the 15-days training. There was a silent tear as the squad left K UAL A Lumpur. In K H Ong they had come across a human being who understood the juniors. “His was a class act,” as the unanimous opinion.

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