The Indian Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, has laid the foundation stone for six squash courts at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, which is home to the Indian hockey team.
Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) Secretary General Cyrus Poncha attended the ceremony in the presence of the Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Shri Kiren Rijiju, the Director General for the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Shri Sandip Pradhan and Director of Projects at NBCC, Shri Neelesh Shah.
This will be the first SAI facility for squash in India and is expected to take six months to complete. The six single squash courts (of which 3 will be able to be converted to doubles courts with movable walls) will be built using World Squash Federation (WSF) specifications. The proposed facility will also house a viewing gallery to accommodate a few hundred spectators. The federation looks forward to holding international events and camps at the facility.
Speaking to Inside the Games, Jaishankar said: “India has tremendous sporting talent, it has able and enthusiastic coaches who would give time to building that talent. What was missing was the place where the talent could meet the coaches.
“I am sure this will be a model facility and moreover a catalyst to see many more facilities come up. We have to democratise sport, it must not be a privilege. Most of the sports in which we have done well is because it has been democratised.
“I hope in the case of squash it is one step in that direction.”
Rijiju told Inside the Games: “To have space in the National Stadium itself has its own significance. To have a space in this complex will give an edge to that facility.
“This six-court squash facility is not only going to be world-class, but also a Centre of Excellence where we will be producing world champions and I am sure upcoming budding players will take maximum benefit of this centre. Our effort is that players should have not have to look around for facilities, we will provide them the facilities.”