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Quality squash tourney for juniors in Jaipur set to roll

362   //    30 Aug 2015, 18:03 IST
Surbhi Misra during her playing days(Photo Courtesy- Squash Site)

Surbhi Misra is passionate about squash, a sport with which she is deeply attached.  As a player she was intense in her approach, always willing to fight till the last point.  Three senior national titles told the story of  her quality. Besides, Surbhi was a member of the Indian team which had won a bronze medal in the team event of the 2009 World championship, the best performance by the country  till date. When her playing career ended a few years ago  it was only natural for her to switch to coaching, to train the youngsters to come up on the right lines and to encourage them.  Setting up an academy in Jaipur, her home town was a big step in this direction.

With  squash growing, Surbhi too is keen like other serious thinkers of the sport in the country to provide better facilities and quality competition to the up and coming talent.  “We must help the young talent  by providing them higher grade competition and ensure that the sport continues to rise and produce more top quality players,” seemed her way of looking at the squash scenario currently.  A major tournament for juniors, the Jaipur junior Open was a feature of the squash calendar and from this year this tournament has been elevated to a four-star event with prize money of Rs 6 lakh. “I am truly excited about this,” said this young lady, totally devoted to  squash.

With over 370 entries for this September 2 to 6 programme and nearly 60 of them from her own academy,  Surbhi could not have asked for more.  What is additionally significant is that all the top juniors in the country will be participating in the tournament which is open to children from U-11 upwards in various age categories.  Unlike the Mumbai event where the NSCI had its own funds,  this Jaipur tourney has a handful of sponsors including a title sponsor in Provogue.  Besides Jabong, a sponsor has lined up gift hampers and T shirts for all the participants.

Another interesting aspect of this rich tournament is that there will be off-court contests, thanks to the sponsors, aimed at testing the fans on the various aspects of the sport.  The quiz type contests which would bring to its winners attractive prizes were aimed at highlighting the sport and drawing the young minds to this interesting racket sport.  The historic city seems to have dressed up for the occasion, or so it would seem talking to Surbhi for at the end of the day what this former India player would wish is more patronage for squash and greater number of high quality squash-playing kids in the country. “Let the sport grow really big, the way is open,” is her refrain.

As the organizer, Surbhi  also dreams of not just success of this junior event but  gain enough inspiration to think of staging a PSA event before long, maybe for  women.  Well, things have begun to happen.  In the meantime, the three freshly redone courts at the Jaipur Club is ready for the competition.  Jaipur is ready and now let the focus get trained on the players.  May the best emerge as winners.

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Over three and half decades of experience in sports journalism. Been a squash writer for over a decade and covered virtually all major championships in the sport from World championship, Asian to national championship.
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