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JSW Indian Squash Challenger Circuit

India's first professional squash tour launched ...
Following the gold-medal performance of squash’s ‘Golden Girls’, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa, at the Commonwealth Games, the sport is set to receive another boost: WSA and PSA today announced The JSW Indian Squash Challenger Circuit scheduled for October 2014 across Jaipur, Mumbai and Chennai.

This marks a significant milestone for squash in Asia as India for the first time hosts a four-match series sanctioned by the PSA and WSA.

The circuit will draw talent from all over the world, and a host of Indian professional players and aspiring professionals will add to the local flavor.

The circuit, which begins in Jaipur on 2 October 2014, will move on to Mumbai before the finale in Chennai.

With Indian squash reaching new heights through the landmark achievements of Saurav Ghosal, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa, many youngsters have indicated a strong interest in the game and are looking to turn professional. This international circuit – a jump forward for the game as well as India’s athletes – is evidence of PSA and WSA’s commitment to the growth of squash in India and the broader Asia region.

“We at JSW have always believed that there is a huge talent pool for the sport in the country and have through the last many years, made a strong commitment to the sport, having nurtured talent at the Jindal Squash Academy, which now has to its credit, 7 international players, 22 national players and 46 state level players,” said Mustafa Ghouse, CEO of JSW Sport, the tournament’s primary sponsor and recipient of the prestigious Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar from the President of India, in recognition of company’s efforts to develop athletic talent within the country.

“A challenger series such as this will provide young talent in the sport the appropriate boost and instill in them the confidence needed to perform on an international stage,” he continued.

Current Indian squash players are excited by this newest competitive opportunity in their country. Dipika Pallikal, India’s No. 1 women’s squash player, said:

“The Challenger Series is a great platform for youngsters to hone their game by playing with some of the top players from across the world, and I strongly believe that that the sport will benefit from it.

"I also hope that we are provided with more such opportunities to host international events of such caliber which can only benefit the popularity and exposure required for the growth of the sport.”

Five-time national champion Ritwik Bhattacharya, the PSA/WSA Representative for Asia, is also keen to see the growth of squash in India.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters in the game to gain some experience and exposure,”
Bhattacharya said.

“It is also is a great exhibition for the promotion of Squash for enthusiasts, fans, as well as India Inc, who can have a visual image of the Top Athletes from the Professional World Tour in the healthiest sport in the World as voted by the Forbes Magazine. Everyone connected with the game of squash in the country is very excited by the arrival of the Indian Challenger Circuit.

“JSW’s support of Squash is the beginning of huge wave of development of the game and certainly paves the way for future Champions who will not need to go abroad to gain valuable ranking points and improve their global rankings.”

Sanctioning this event is the PSA and WSA, affiliates of the World Squash Federation (WSF), which has more than 1000 players from 80 countries (including 10 Indians) currently registered as professional players and hopes to see this circuit as a constant fixture on the World Squash Tour.

“The initiative is a fantastic one and will be of immense value to our fraternity and in particular to the young Indian professional players as also for aspiring professionals,” said Alex Gough, PSA CEO.

“We welcome JSW to our community of sponsors and are once again delighted to be working with Ivy Sports, who were responsible in delivering arguably India’s best squash event to date.”

Tommy Berden, Acting CEO of WSA Tour added: “We are delighted to welcome the JSW Indian Squash Circuit to our Women’s World Tour calendar.

"With the recent success of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, two of the top players on the Women’s Tour, this initiative will go a long way in developing our sport in India and Asia.”

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