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Inspiring the Next Generation: Aryaveer Dewan's Commitment to Indian Squash

From winning the US Junior Open and the British Junior Open to keeping an eye on the Olympics, all while balancing academics, discover 15 years old Aryaveer’s journey towards representing Indian squash at the global platform

Inspiring the Next Generation: Aryaveer Dewans Commitment to Indian Squash

Aryaveer Dewan winning the US Junior Open in January 2024 (Image: The Education Times News Bureau)


Sukanya Adhikary

Updated: 14 March 2024 6:27 AM GMT

In the world of Indian squash, 15-year-old Aryaveer Dewan is an inspiration to follow. Arya embodies balance and determination as he balances the responsibilities of his upcoming tenth board examinations with passion for squash. He not only writes his own story for his path but also passionately encourages the younger generations to follow their passions while staying focused on their academic goals. Arya recently won the US Junior Open and secured Bronze at the British Junior Open.

Squash is a fast paced racquet sport played between two players. It requires quick reflexes, strategic thinking and agility. The sport is known for its intense physical demands, requiring players to sprint, lunge, and twist throughout the match. In an interview with The Bridge, Arya talks about his interests in the sport and how he manages time in between classes to fulfill his dream.

Arya’s journey began at the age of nine, with fun games among friends and coaches, and as his interest for squash intensified, so did his commitment to training. Four hours from his daily life is allotted to squash training. Waking up at 6 AM, attending classes at the school, and then returning home for lunch, and training till 8 PM, is what a day of Arya’s everyday life looks like.

Arya is currently studying in 10th grade at Delhi Public School, RK Puram, skillfully balances training and academics. Arya thanks his school for being supportive with his journey, “My school has been really supportive throughout this journey and regarding the attendance as well. The teachers are really sweet and they help clear all my doubts whenever I have any.”

Being exposed to sports at an early age, Arya used to play football and cricket previously. “Virat Kohli is definitely one person who I look up to because his dedication and discipline is really something to be inspired from. For a high intensity sport like squash, we can learn a lot from him,” says Arya, drawing inspiration from Kohli's relentless pursuit of excellence, as he forges his own path in the world of squash.

However, he sought a sport that offered uniqueness. “I was really attracted to squash because of all the infrastructure that the government has made in Delhi, like the Siri Fort stadium and the Dhyan Chand stadium,” Arya noted, “One initial personal experience was when my first tournament did not go well, but there were many people who were encouraging me, asking me to not take it to my heart, because they knew I had a lot of exposure that I was left to experience.”

Originating in England, squash is a game that requires quick thinking and strength. It is a sport that demands great physical as well as mental stamina. High quality mental and physical training is required to play the game, and HCL provides support with psychological counseling, nutritional guidance for the players.

HCL has been instrumental in Aryaveer's journey, providing crucial support through exposure to international tournaments. "They organize international tournaments, even junior camps with international coaches, which helps players get an extra perspective about their game and help us improve,” Arya said who personally gained from the Asian junior camp which was held right before the Asian juniors, “Chris Ryder from England came to coach us at the HCL High Performance Camp, which improved my game, and later win the bronze medal in the Asian juniors.”

Despite squash's relatively low popularity in India, HCL has provided a platform for players like Aryaveer with the right kind of facilities such as international tournaments, junior camps with international coaches it deserves, with various programs like HCL Squash Podium Program.

Talking about his favourite memory, Arya says, “The Asian junior camp was held before the Asian juniors, because the top players from the country were staying together, training with each other. We had a lot of fun, and it motivated me to play better.” The Asian juniors was Arya’s first good performance at an international level, and he stood to be one of the four Indian podium finishers at the event.

Initially, Arya faced a lot of downs in his game, which is natural for players in their initial stage, especially for a game like squash, that requires intense physical strength. It takes time for young players to develop the required skills and strength. Aryaveer recognizes that setbacks are an inevitable part of sports. However, he approaches defeats as opportunities for growth, taking breaks to refresh his mind before resuming training, and his parents unwavering pillars of support. They accompany him for all of his tournaments around the country and abroad.

However, nothing would have been possible without the support of Arya’s parents. His mother strictly makes him follow a diet chart to help him get the energy he needs to play a challenging game like squash. For a student pursuing 10th grade and squash at the same time is challenging, because students go through a lot of stress during board exams alone. Arya consistently balances the stress of academics and his passion for the game.

Difficult times like the COVID-19 pandemic was a nightmare for every athlete, yet he did not pause his training sessions. He stayed focused and consistent towards his goals. “I used to go for morning runs and keep doing my exercises regularly so that I would have my body ready for whenever the next tournament was going to be,” and because of all the hard work he won the ISTA Junior open, which was the first tournament after the pandemic without dropping a single set.

Looking back at 2023, Arya says it has been a great year for him, and his goals of 2024 are, winning the junior nationals and the Asian juniors. With dreams of representing India at the Olympics, Aryaveer remains steadfast in his pursuit of excellence.

A player's journey in the world of sports, be it squash or any other discipline, is a thrilling, sometimes frustrating ride. However, these things develop resilience, discipline, and character, which helps one to stay focused and follow the path towards their goals.

Beyond his individual achievements, Aryaveer aspires to contribute to the growth of India's squash ecosystem, inspiring aspiring players to reach their full potential. His dedication to the sport extends beyond personal glory, reflecting a commitment to the broader squash community.

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