"Without funding, it is impossible to sustain rankings": Interview with Indian squash player Ravi Dixit
The Asian Junior Squash Championships culminated in Tehran on August 27. While Pakistan's Israr Ahmed beat Malaysia's Ng Eain Yow 3-2 to take the title, the win extended India’s wait for an elusive victory at the tournament.
As prolific as the Indian squash team may be, it has only been once that the country took top prize at the event – five years ago, in 2010.
Sportskeeda caught up with Ravi Dixit, who had emerged victorious then. Now a senior, the Chennai-based player recently returned from Reunion Islands where he played a series of exhibition matches against top players like James Wilstrop and former world number 1 Thierry Lincou.
In an exclusive interview, he opens up about his title winning run from 5 years ago, the journey since and his desire to break the Top 100 in the PSA rankings.
Hi Ravi, another Junior Asian Championship went by and you remain our only winner from the event from 2010. How do you feel about this?
I was doing really well. I had won the Junior Malaysian Open twice during the same period, so the Asian title just added to a very good streak. That being said, I was hoping one of our juniors could lift the title this year.
Considering how massive the gulf is between the level of play at the junior and senior levels, what according to you proves crucial in a player’s ascent through the transition?
It’s indeed pretty difficult, especially in a country like ours. Albeit for an extremely small group, there is hardly any competition amongst the seniors; in fact going in to a major tournament, you can always predict who will end up featuring in the last 4. That’s quite unlike what happens in top squash playing countries like Egypt where there are atleast 40-50 really good players.
That being said, we are trying our best- people like Harry, Mahesh and I have been doing well and hopefully shall soon be excelling at the international level too.
Why do you think it is that way though? Is it a problem of lack of infrastructure or funds, maybe?
Funds, yes...with a lack of corporate sponsorship, we tend to rely on grants from the government but off late there have been hiccups with that too. It gets difficult for us to sustain our ranking if we don’t play top tournaments around the world and without funding, it’s almost impossible to do so.
Anything that you would like to add that in your opinion will escalate the level of squash in our country?
I assume it’s going to be gradual, the rise of the game i.e. Some players like Sourav Ghoshal and Dipika Pallikal are already doing really well and I don’t see why we can’t emulate them. There is no dearth of talent here, all we need is a structured set up and the influx of titles shall become less sporadic soon.
Highlights from Dixit’s career
1.? Winner - Asian Junior Championship, Sri Lanka 2010 (first and only Indian so far)
2.? Bronze Medal - Asian Junior Individual, Chennai, 2009
3.? Winner U 19 - Malaysian Junior Open 2009 & 2010 (first and only Indian so far)
4.? Silver Medal - Team Event 11th South Asian Games, Dhaka 2010
5.? Senior Nationals (Men’s Open) Bronze Medal 2009-2014
6.? Silver Medal - 34th National Games Ranchi 2011
7. Silver Medal – U21 World Cup, Chennai 2012
8. Represented India at the World Junior Championship 2006 & 2008
9. Bronze Medal - 35th National Games Kerala 2015
Awards received till November 2014
1. Sahara India sports Award 2010
2. Hassan Mussa Award 2010-2011
3. Asian Player of the year 2010
4- Youngest achievement of the year 2010-2011
5- 1st and ever Indian to become Asian champion till May 2015.
6- Senior nationals bronze medal record 2009-2014.
Awards so far in 2015
1- Gold Medal - IGOPL Khar Gymkhana Mumbai
2- Gold Medal Doubles- IGOPL Khar Gymkhana Mumbai
3- Bronze Medal - 35th National Games Kerala
4- 3rd place 63rd Senior Nationals kerala