Junior Nationals from today

CHENNAI OCT. 10. The cream of young talent in the country, right from age 11 to 19, will be on view in Chennai as the national junior and sub-junior squash championship gets underway at the TNSRA-SDAT courts on Saturday.

The week-long championship, being organised by the Tamil Nadu Squash Rackets Association under the auspices of the Squash Rackets Federation of India, is to be conducted in two stages with the inter-state competition preceding the open events.

"From October 11 to 14 the inaugural team events in the Under-19 and Under-15 sections (boys and girls) will be conducted. Considering the overwhelming response (27 teams have entered) we shall try to bring in the other age group categories also from next year," said Srivatsan Subramaniam, Championship Director, in a press release on Friday.

For team events, host Tamil Nadu has entered two boys' teams each in the Under-19 and Under-15 sections, one girls team in the Under-19 section and two in the Under-15 section. Maharasthra (six teams), MP (four), Rajasthan (three), New Delhi (four), Bengal (two) and Uttaranchal (one) are the other States participating in the tournament. Overall, it should be a fight between Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra for the honours.

For the individual events, a record number of entries (357) had been received, a reflection on SRFI's promotion of the sport, the release said. The high quality performances in recent times which had boosted the image of the sport, thanks to Natalia-SRFI squash development programme.

The open events should bring to fore the likes of Joshna Chinapa, Ramit Tandon, Saurav Ghosal and Gaurav Nandrajog, all of whom have excelled on the international stage as well.

Mr. N. Ramachandran, Secretary, SRFI said the Federation was indebted to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the Sports Authority of India and the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu for their assistance in helping squash head on the right direction.

National Coach Cyrus Poncha said that with the next junior world championship scheduled in Pakistan next year, the Chennai national would give an index to the future programmes.

Mr. Srivatsan said Mr. Rajiv Reddy will be the SRFI observer for the national.