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Asian Games 2018: SRFI responds to squash players' allegations of not having a 'real coach'

410   //    15 Aug 2018, 19:30 IST

The Indian squash team pose after the 2014 Asian Games
The Indian squash team pose after the 2014 Asian Games

What's the story?

The spate of controversies that have hit the Indian contingent traveling to the 2018 Asian Games continues as the absence of a full-time coach as part of the squash team has left the athletes in a spot of bother, which has forced them to slam the Squash Rackets Federation of India for their 'unprofessional attitude' that reportedly led Egyptian Achraf Karargui to vacate the head coach's position ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

While it is understood that longtime coach Cyrus Poncha and sixteen-time national champion Bhuvneshwari Kumari will be travelling with the team, the no-show of a full-time coach has been scathed by the athletes and touted as a reason for the lack of preparation ahead of the mega tournament.

In case you didn't know

Egyptian coach Achraf Al Karargui joined the Indian team in July 2016 and signed a standing contract that would keep him in the team until July 2019. However. based on refutes with the SRFI, Achraf opted to part ways a month ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Heart of the Matter

Since then, the Indian contingent has split into batches in order to train which has not found the athletes in good terms with the SRFI. The players questioned the role of Poncha and Kumari in the team, who the players believe is better at managerial roles and not at the coaching level.

However, in a recent release by the SRFI, ace player Dipika Pallikal Karthik's connotation of a 'big blow to the team' owing to the absence of a foreign coach has been severely abnegated by the federation, claiming that it was only an approach taken by the star player to 'vent out her frustrations' for missing out on an opportunity to establish A.Parthiban as her coach while on the other hand, the federation claims that Dipika's preparation for the CWG 2018 was at the Indian Squash Academy and the team should have focussed on preparation for the Games.

It is understood that ahead of the Games, the likes of Saurav Ghoshal, Joshna Chinappa, Harinder Pal Sandhu trained in England while Dipika travelled to Egypt to train under Achraf. At the end of the preparatory camp, the top players also mentioned the lack of seasoned coaches in the setup that could be attributed to the continued absence of a head coach.

What's Next?

The Squash contingent is set to take part in the 2018 Asian Games later this month and will hope to brush away the controversy that has hit them and make optimum use of the preparatory camp to put in their best foot forward and bring more laurels to the country.