For the first time India will host a World University squash championship scheduled to come off in September, 2014. This is also the first time that an individual sport out of the 38 disciplines in the World University Games is coming to India.
The event, to be held under the banner of the International University of Sports Federation (FISU), will run from September 1 to 7 at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai. The facilities at the venue have impressed a team of officials from the FISU and Association of Indian Universities (AIU) among others.
“We are also aware of the capabilities of both the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) and the Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association (TNSRA) in organising world-level competitions, having organised them efficiently at the academy,” said Zena Wooldridge, FISU Technical delegate (squash).
She said the competition would attract participants from around 30 nations.
Speaking to The Hindu later, Ms Wooldridge said, “the academy has fabulous facilities with seven glass-back courts and the all-glass centre court which we thought was necessary for the final competition.”
A former Masters player from UK and currently the vice-president of the European Squash Federation, Ms Wooldridge said, in keeping with the growing stature of squash in the country, India would also have the distinction of being the first Asian country to host this championship in its eighth edition.
“In a way this is will also help the sport spread from the European continent. We are also looking at Malaysia, Jordan and South Africa in the coming years,” she said.
Even though termed a university competition, the participants would be representing their country. Also each participant has to be enrolled in a university to be eligible to take part. “To that extent India, which has a good young crop, could expect to fare well in this edition,” she said.
Besides Ms Wooldridge, the inspection team comprised Paulo Ferreira, Director - World University Championships, Dr. Gurdeep Singh, AIU joint secretary, Dr. Kishore, Dr. S. Sundarajan, Deputy Director of Physical Education & Anna University Sports Board secretary, Maj. S. Maniam, Foreign Coach, SRFI and Cyrus Poncha, National coach.