India on Monday pulled out of the Women's World Team Squash Championship scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from December 15 to 20 due to "lack of preparation time" and "uncertainties" about travelling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
SRFI secretary general and former national coach Cyrus Poncha said the decision was taken after consulting with the top players. "Due to uncertainties regarding guidelines for the safe travel of our athletes and staff for national & international tournaments (yet to be obtained from the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) & Sports Authority of India (SAI)), coupled with lack of preparation time and match readiness of athletes, and after consulting our top players, the SRFI has decided to withdraw from the championship," he said in a press release.
The WSF and Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) have been constantly monitoring the scenario arising out of the global health crisis. Considering the August 15 deadline, the SRFI had requested the WSF for an extension for registration which was not given, the release said. "The SRFI is also waiting for guidelines from the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) & Sports Authority of India (SAI) for international participation with top priority being safety and security of the players and staff for any international event," it said.
The coronavirus case count continues to rise in the country with Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai - all major squash centres - badly hit by the virus, making resumption of training difficult. "As the situation develops and improves, SRFI in consultation with the Sports Ministry and SAI will take necessary steps for resuming sport in the country in compliance with the SOPs that would be brought out along with any further development required for squash," the governing body said.
The Asian Junior Individual Championship 2020 has also been cancelled by the Asian Squash Federation due to the pandemic. The event was scheduled to be held at Qingdao, China in June but was postponed to December before being finally cancelled. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in sporting events across the globe being either cancelled or rescheduled. The Tokyo Olympics in Japan was also postponed to next year due to the dreaded disease.