Ahead of the 2018 Asian Games, it seems that the squash contingent is in trouble as well as their training is reportedly hindered due to the absence of a head coach. The entire contingent has taken to practicing individually under different mentors which, according to the players themselves, is inadvisable ahead of a major multi sport tournament.
Speaking to PTI, India’s top ranked squash player Saurav Ghosal outlined the difficulties faced in this scattered approach. “In an ideal scenario, it would be nice for all of us to train together for team events but that is not possible at the moment. It is really sad that someone of the calibre of Karargui had to go and no one has replaced him yet,” Ghosal said.
It may be remembered that after the bitter exit of coach Achraf El Karagui ahead of the Commonwealth Games earlier this year. “The SRFI treated me unprofessionally,” Karagui had been quoted as saying back then. “You can’t expect anyone to operate as usual in such a scenario. I want to be there for players at CWG but it is best for them to go ahead without me as there is too much distraction.”
According to Saurav Ghosal, however, his individual training has been on track in preparation for the Asian Games. The same PTI release also quoted him as saying, “Having said that, my individual training has been going well. I had a fruitful stint with David Palmer (former world number one) in the US and now I am here at Pontefract, which has been my training base ever since I was 18.”
“So, the players who mostly train in India would benefit a lot more from a full-time coach than someone like me,” added Ghosal, who won a team gold and individual silver at the 2014 Incheon edition of the Asian Games.
According to reports, Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa are continuing with their training in England under coaches. Top player Dipika Pallikai, on the other hand, has been in Egypt to train under the former coach Karagui. Expenses for all of this is born by the government of India.
Harinder Pal Sandhu, another promising prospect, has also joined Ghosal at Pontefract, England and they both will be training together.
All players are expected to return to India for the Asiad prep camp starting in Chennai on August 10.