Squash Racquets Federation of India

The Squash Racquets Federation of India or SRFI is the Indian governmental apex body for the game of squash.

It conducts the National Squash Championship, and promotes the game through the different state level squash bodies, and provides training facilities and selects the squad for the Indian team. It also chooses coaches for the national team (presently Cyrus Poncha and Major S. Maniam).

Among the major facilities created by the SRFI is the ICL-TNSRA squash academy [ [http://coachcyrus.wordpress.com/2006/10/14/srfi-taking-squash-to-the-masses/ Cyrus Poncha blog] ] , which hosted the World Team Championship in 2007 [http://wmt2007.com/press.htm] .

Controversies

Like many other Indian sports bodies, there appears to be a considerably amount of political bickering in the SRFI ranks. Although the body is nominally autonomous, the secretary-general is usually a political appointee, and it gets its funding from the Ministry of Sports and Culture. It is rife with bureaucracy, and leading sportsmen often oppose many of its procedures. A large number of secretaries and other staff usually attend most international tournaments.

In 2000, the squash association of Maharashtra felt that the chairman of the SRFI, N. Ramchandran, was hindering the chances of players [http://www.ispsquash.com/PressResport_2000_1.htm] .

Conflict between the SRFI and squash athletes came to a fore in 2005, when the government was conferring the Dronacharya award on SRFI affiliated squash coach Cyrus Poncha::India's number one squash player Joshna Chinappa wrote a letter to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs that she never trained under Poncha, and that he had misused her name to get the Dronacharya award. [cite news
url = http://www.rediff.com/sports/2005/sep/03squash.htm
title = SRFI rally behind Poncha
author = Shobha Warrier
date = 2005-09-03
] . The SRFI chairman Ramachandran then produced testimonials from Joshna where she acknowledges the support of SRFI and Poncha. The roots of the controversy remain unclear.

In 2008, the SRFI chose a woman's squad for the Asian championships without Dipika Pallikal, who was then training in Egypt, after having recently won the under-17 British Open. The federation cited irregularities in the paperwork in informing the group about her absence due to training [cite news
title = Justice eludes squash player Dipika Pallikal
author = Sambuddha Dutt
date = 2008-02-05
publisher=NDTV
url = http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/showsports.aspx?id=SPOEN20080040477&ch=2/6/2008%205:11:00%20AM
] , but it was felt that this might have been a rivalry with the Mittal Champions Trust which had been sponsoring her training abroad.

The SRFI has also been implicated in various delays, leading to India losing the opportunity to host world championships. Occasionally, the body has been the subject of hate mail campaigns [http://www.hinduonnet.com/2001/11/05/stories/07050975.htm] .

Recently, private groups such as the Jindal Squash Academy [http://www.jisco.com/JSW%20Final%20P%20.htm] are promoting participation in Squash. Also, the Mittal Champions Trust [http://mittalchampionstrust.com/] has invested $9 million to train athletes for the 2012 London olympics, particularly focusing on squash. They have taken the initiative to have Indian talent undergo training under the best facilities, in India or abroad. The SRFI has often been in conflict with these private groups.

The SRFI maintains the website indiansquash.net [ [http://www.indiansquash.net/ SRFI website] ] , which announces the national squash calendar and other details. (site not functional as of 2008-08-19).

References


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