Squash gains ground
Squash, indulged mostly by defence personnel, has become popular with civilians as well. More sponsors will see the game gaining wider popularity, writes ABHIJIT SEN GUPTA.
The game calls for tremendous fitness and agility. - Photos: K. Ramesh Babu
SQUASH ENJOYS wide popularity throughout the world and in various parts of India also. In Hyderabad it is developing slowly but steadily thanks to the efforts of a few die-hard squash enthusiasts such as T. Ambrose, Ajay Reddy, Ram Reddy, D. Bhatia and Premchand.These gentlemen have conducted and participated in tournaments in the past and according to T. Ambrose, there are plans to construct at least three more courts in and around the twin cities in localities such as Shamirpet and Hitech City.
Speaking about the development of the game in Hyderabad, Ambrose said that back in the Seventies, the game was only played among the defence establishments in Secunderabad. Ambrose got interested in the game from his school days when he was staying in Mhow in Madhya Pradesh where his father, an army officer, was posted. When the family shifted to Hyderabad in the Seventies the only courts that Ambrose and other players had for their use were the ones located in the Secunderabad Cantonment area namely RSI Bolarum and MCEME. The only one available to civilians was one at the Secunderabad Club.
A few tournaments were conducted in the Eighties and once a State level tournament was also conducted which was, as expected, dominated by army players who won all the titles. But generally squash tournaments were few and far between till the Country Club in Begumpet decided to revive the sport. A tournament was conducted wherein some of the top players in the State took part and for the first time many young boys and girls took up active participation in the sport.
The two rivals are together on the same side.
In Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada also, the sport developed and some clubs conducted tournaments which helped popularise the sport.
At present, the city has several good players from various army units as well as civilians. The game is a fast paced one and calls for tremendous fitness and agility. A good eye for judging the flight and bounce of the ball and anticipation and quick reflexes are also a must if a player hopes to reach the top level in this sport. But above all, an even temperament and a total commitment to fair play and sportsmanship are a prime requirement.
In other sports such as badminton or tennis, which are of a similar nature, the opponents are separated by a net, which prevents the adversaries from coming into close contact with each other. But in squash the two rivals are together on the same side in a small area without any net in between and often in close proximity to each other. If by chance a player loses his cool he could have the opportunity to lash out at his opponent and perhaps even severely injure him with the racket.
But fortunately such a show of bad temper rarely occurs in squash and certainly it has never been witnessed in tournaments in Hyderabad. It underlines the good spirit in which the game is played and the gentlemanly attitude of the players.
But one of the main hurdles of all sports is also present in squash. That is the difficulty of attracting sponsors for conducting big meets.
Conducting any sports event means incurring sizeable expenditure and for this sponsorship is a must. In the past organisations such as Apollo Hospitals, Dr. Reddy Labs and Amara Raja Batteries have come forward to sponsor squash tournaments but what is needed is an organisation which is willing to become a major sponsor and support the game on a long term basis.
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