25 years ago, a few squash enthusiasts from
different companies came together to discuss the problems squash faced and
regulate the organization of few tournaments that were held at the time. This
marked the birth of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra.
SRAM’s role is to regulate the game of
squash in the state of Maharashtra which includes the smooth function of
tournaments, selection of state teams, training programs, coaching
programs, creating state ranking system, to co-ordinate with the National
body in the interest of players, co-ordinate with clubs and overall
promote the game in the state. SRAM’s efforts are also towards creation
of an International level squash infrastructure and coordination with
other nodal sports agencies in the government and associations.
Most important is to enforce the squash
rules in conduction of tournaments to ensure fair play, discipline and
good conduct among the players.
Though not much could be achieved in the
initial years in terms of promoting the game, a foundation was laid which
helped the successors to turn SRAM in to an institution that has
influenced many youngsters to take to the game.
The first Treasurer of SRAM, Arun Sanghi
remembers how individuals went out of their way to get money for
organising tournaments. Getting publicity was impossible as squash was
considered an elitist sport. No one would sponsor the tournaments as
squash was not popular. All this meant that squash was just an amateur
game played by the well-to-do class of the city.
Times were very difficult. Fortunately,
SRAM had many influential people amongst them and everyone used their
influence for promoting squash. A party would be held after every
tournament with invitations to the who’s who of the city. Slowly but
steadily people began noticing squash. Press coverage increased and money
started coming in.
The tide turned when glass courts were
introduced in India in the early 90’s. Squash was no longer closed
inside four walls. It was now a spectator sport fast, exciting and
thrilling. It started influencing the youngsters and its popularity was on
a rise. SRAM then invited Jansher Khan to play a few exhibition games and
needless to say, the legend drew capacity crowds. Things started to
change for the better. Gone were the days when sponsorship was an issue.
With the introduction of public squash courts, the game was no longer
elitist, meant only for those with membership to premier clubs. Squash was
now a professional sport that the masses took to. Anyone with the passion
for the game had a chance and SRAM made sure they were given the
opportunity to perform at a competitive level.
With every passing year, squash began
gaining popularity and SRAM, on its part, started organising more
tournaments every year with the number crossing 15 in the last few years.
Time had changed and so also people’s perception. The transition was
clear. Squash is no longer an elitist game it has changed in to the
fastest growing sport in the country.
public squash court is ready and rolling. It is situated at the Andheri
Sports Complex (close to the international airport). The state body, the
Squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) wasted no time in getting
things under way. A free coaching camp has been organised from June 15 to
July 15 with local professional Yaqoob Shaikh.The public can hire rackets
free of charge. The response from the man-on-the-street has been very
"We have a full house for the first
week's coaching and are well on the way to filling up the other three
weeks,” said SRAM Secretary Mahendra Agarwal. The public court concept
had been mooted for some time but had not gone through due to a number of
reasons. In all, three courts will be available to the public. The other
two are under repair and should be ready by 15th August.
The funding for the project has been
provided by the Mid-Day Multimedia Group. Their chairman, Khalid
A.H.Ansari, is President of SRAM and a driving force for the game in the
state. The complex has been named The Mid-Day A.H.Ansari Squash Academy.
The cost of repairing the three courts is in the region of 600,000 Rupees
(approximately ten thousand pounds sterling).
Up until now, the game has been confined
to the private clubs and the armed forces. But, with the arrival of public
courts, the SRAM is looking to take the game to the masses. Today Bombay
has just over 50 courts. But it has to be said that there has been a major
thrust forward with courts being built in several parts of the state of
Maharashtra. It is worth noting that Bombay has been considered as the
home of Indian squash. Back in the 1940s, Hashim Khan won the Western
India title at the CCI courts and since then, there has been a regular
flow of champions from the metropolis.
Sanghi (second from left) presenting cheque for Rs 10 lakh to Mumbai PoliceCommissioner R.S. Sharma towards creating indoor sports facility at their
policeGymkhana.SRAM president Khalid A-H Ansari,Additional Commissioner of PoliceSanjay
Barve (IPS, 1987 batch) and Mahendra Agarwal are also in the picture
Sah and Sanghi,
Mumbai's leading automobile dealers, have come forward to extend support
to the rapidly expanding sporting facilities of Mumbai Police at Marine
Drive and elsewhere in the city. Ranjan Sanghi, executive director of Sah
and Sanghi Group of Companies and vice-president of the Squash Racquets
Association of Maharashtra (SRAM), presented a cheque for Rs 10 lakh on
Monday to police commissioner R S Sharma at police headquarters at
The amount is part of a
total contribution of Rs 20 lakh to the police force and will be utilised
to set up improved and additional indoor sports facilities at the Police
Gymkhana at Marine Drive.