Indian Squash player Dipika Pallikal slammed the SRFI (Squash Rackets Federation of India) for failing to appoint a coach for the Indian players since April 2018. The Squash star also said that the state of Indian Squash is disheartening. The Indian Squash players have been training without a coach since April 2018 after the Egyptian Achraf Karargui left in 2018.
“If you want to try and take Squash forward in the country, the first rule is to have a Coach. It’s just bizarre to head to the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games without a Coach. It’s just disheartening to see what is happening to Indian squash.” she said. The player also said that Squash Federation of India (SRFI) needs to have a structure in place for Indians to become a formidable force at the world level. “There has to be a proper structured programs, scheduling, etc in place. A lot of planning has to be done to try and become the world champion. It’s not the best scenario in the country right now without a coach.” she said.
The athlete further stated that players like her and Joshna Chinappa, and Saurav Ghosal escape the need of a Coach by basing themselves abroad. Juniors don’t have the liberty to do that and the federation needs to provide the proper training and guidance. The sports star also slammed the federation and said that no one after her and Joshna is there to fill the number 3,4 and 5 spots. She also said that if things continue like this, in 5-6 years, Indian Squash will not have any players.
“You need world-class coaches to guide your players. What is the use of having tournaments without coaches? The players need to become world-class and then go on playing tournaments” she added.
Earlier this year, the SRFI decided to not hire a full-time Coach and instead opted for event-based for the players. Dipika Pallikal had resisted the decision. Stating the importance of having a Coach, the player said, “Personally I don’t think that will work. Because it’s like saying I’m going to be with someone else and when I have a tournament, someone else is going to coach me. That person may have nothing to do with your game. The connect won’t be there which is very important. The player needs someone fulltime. I don’t how it will work out but personally, it won’t work for me.” The player also alleged that the federation doesn't consult players before taking important decisions. “They didn’t come to us to ask if we needed Achraf in the CWG. In the Asian Games, there was this huge drama over national coach and Saurav, Joshna and myself ended up coaching each other.” the player added.
(With inputs from PTI)