The president of the World Squash Federation, N. Ramachandran, also the Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association president, is to be honoured by the Government of India with the prestigious ‘Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2011' under the ‘establishment and management of sports academies of excellence' category.
Instituted in 2009 to recognise the contribution made to sports development by entities other than sportspersons and coaches, the award has four categories — community sports development, promotion of sports academies of excellence, support to elite sportspersons and employment to sportspersons. The award carries a trophy and citation.
The award will be presented to Ramachandran by the President of India, Pratibha Patil, at a special function at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan on August 29.
Elated over the recognition, Ramachandran, who is currently abroad, told The Hindu that he was “pleasantly surprised. It is a recognition of the sport's growth in the country and the good work of the Indian Squash Academy. I am humbled by the honour.
“Without the support of the State and Central governments, this sport would not have risen the way it has. I dedicate this award to all the coaches and players of the Indian Squash Academy,” he said.
It was around the turn of the millennium that the Indian Squash Academy — Ramachandran's pet project — came into existence in Chennai. The Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, too, supported this venture.
The institution, which focused on structured training, won international acclaim, thanks to some wonderful talent that emerged from it. The development continues. — Special Correspondent