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HCL, a leading global conglomerate, today announced the launch of HCL Squash Podium Program in partnership with the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) to significantly improve the Squash ecosystem in India. The multi-pronged program will focus on driving a 360-degree overhaul in Indian Squash by improving both player (senior and junior) and coaching standards and enhancing the overall prominence of the sport in the country.As part of this initiative, HCL and SRFI will also host the HCL Indian Tour - a Professional Squash Association (PSA) multi-city circuit in the country, giving the Indian players an opportunity to compete against the world’s best on their home turf.
The year-long HCL Squash Podium Program will host:-
- Multiple coaching camps and referee clinics – HCL and SRFI will work towards capacity-building and skill enhancement for existing Indian coaches and referees and benchmark them to standards recommended by World Squash Federation (WSF). With this HCL and SRFI aim to significantly improve the current number of 13 WSF Level 2 Coaches in the country to help the upcoming Indian players greater access to world-class coaches and enhance their overall performance. HCL and SRFI will also host referee clinics along with each PSA tournament to help improve refereeing standards.
- HCL Indian Tour – HCL and SRFI will organize multi-city PSA tournaments in both men’s and women’s categories to help upcoming players in the country gain international ranking points and climb up the PSA rankings.These tournaments will also offer a larger number of Indian players the opportunity to compete against some of the best international players without making the investment of travelling to international locations.
- HCL Indian Junior Open –the annual flagship event in the junior category by HCL will now be organized as aPlatinum event under the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) calendar (the highest level championship in the Asian Circuit) and will be rated as a Six-startournament byThe top players from this tournament will receive ranking points which will add up to their junior Asian rankings in the relevant age group.
- HCL High Performance Camps – half-yearly,two-week performance camps for 32 shortlisted junior players with top national and international coaches. These camps will be geared towards improving game tactics, strength and conditioning and will also focus on nutritional direction and psychological counselling. Individual player assessment reports will be created during these camps by leveraging sports science, to offer customized guidance to each player and help them perform better against their international counterparts.
Indian player rankingsLast month, Saurav Ghoshal became the first Indian male squash player to enter the top 10 in the latest PSA world rankings. Egypt's world champion Ali Farag, meanwhile, maintains his position at the top of the ladder. The other Indian male in the top 50 is Ramit Tandon (49). In the women's rankings, Joshna Chinappa continues to be the best-ranked Indian, moving up to the 15th position. Dipika Palllikal Karthik had earlier become the first Indian woman to be ranked 10, she is currently ranked 73 as she has not being playing competitive squash since October 2018.