Cyrus Poncha is a Dronacharya award-winning Indian squash coach. At an early stage of his illustrious career in the sport, Poncha realised that the squash ecosystem in India was more in need of talented coaches than players. He realised through his experiences that there is a lack of guidance in the field. This is exactly why he decided to focus his energy on coaching budding players.
With his noble vision and continued focus on uplifting squash infrastructure and training in India, Poncha has been able to bring to the forefront some of the most successful squash players like Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal Karthik, and Saurav Ghoshal among others.
All this while, he has been staying backstage and revelling in the glory of his students. It’s time to bring this selfless teacher in the spotlight!
Squash | General, Squash Racquets Federation of India
Cyrus Poncha Biography
Cyrus Poncha was born and brought up in Mumbai. He started playing squash at quite an early age. When he was 18, Poncha started coaching other squash players on weekends. He realised during that phase how much he enjoyed coaching.
“When I was playing as a junior in Bombay, there weren’t too many coaches to help us. So I took it upon myself to help the kids out over the weekends which would eventually spread over weekdays,” he was quoted by The Bridge.
Poncha’s initiative found many takers and many parents showed a lot of appreciation and encouragement. When he was just a junior level player, he was already a club-level coach!
Mumbaikar Poncha shifted base to Chennai and started working under Maj Maniam, a Malaysian coach. This came out to be a turning point for Poncha.
Poncha has been an integral part of the Indian squash circuit at both junior and senior levels. He has shaped the careers of many, with three of his prodigies being in the world top 20. Poncha has mastered the art of handling juniors and seniors accordingly. It is not possible to keep the same perspective when dealing with players from diverse age groups. Starting out young has helped Poncha be considerate of the exact training requirements of his students.
One budding star who was honed by Poncha is Valavan Senthilkumar. He became an instant sensation in the junior squash circuit and became the U-19 World No. 1.
Poncha has also helped senior players like Saurav Ghoshal, Dipika Pallikal, Joshana Chinappa, and Harinder Pal Sandhu. His approach to training the more experienced lot is entirely different and has helped him connect with them better.
Poncha started coaching at the ICL – TNSRA Academy in Chennai. Squash Racquets Federation of India runs the academy. Very soon, Poncha became the National coach of the Squash Rackets Federation of India.
In June 2019, Cyrus Poncha was elected unopposed as the new Secretary-General of the Squash Rackets Federation of India. He will hold the position for a period of four years 2019-2023.
- Dronacharya Award, 2005
- Asian Squash Federation Junior Coach of the Year, 2004, 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2016
Unknown Facts about Cyrus Poncha
- Poncha idolizes Egyptian legend, Ramy Ashour, and is a big fan of his attractive displays.
- Former Secretary-General of SRFI, Mr N. Ramachandran has had a lot of influence on Cyrus Poncha’s career. No wonder then, that Cyrus credits him for where he is today.
Social Media: Cyrus Poncha
— Cyrus Poncha (@coachcyrus) October 11, 2019
View this post on Instagram
Delighted to be at the book launch of ‘Tamil Nadu’s Quest For Gold’, the book documents the rich history of sports in Tamil Nadu, authored by renowned historian and chronicler late S. Muthiah. Am truly humbled to be featured in the book. . . . #tamilnadu #quest #gold #bookstagram #books #booklaunch #booklaunching #olympics #sports #sportsforlife #taj #connemara #tajconnemara
Delighted to be at the book launch of ‘Tamil Nadu’s Quest For Gold’, the book documents the rich history of sports in Tamil Nadu, authored by renowned historian and chronicler late S. Muthiah. Am truly humbled to be featured in the book.#tamilnadu #quest #gold #sports pic.twitter.com/ioUCcPG4qS
— Cyrus Poncha (@coachcyrus) October 4, 2019
In 2012 our junior men won a historic bronze medal defeating England at the World Juniors in Qatar#Throwback #squash #squashforlife #indiasquash #teamindia #medals #indiasports #kheloindia pic.twitter.com/s0jsHfAZsd
— Cyrus Poncha (@coachcyrus) September 13, 2019
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#Throwback In 2005 I was humbled to receive the Dronacharya Award from President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam. #squash #indiansquash #squashtime #squashtv #squashlife #squashing #champions #asianchampionship #junior #worldchampion #insta #throwback #apj #apjabdulkalamquotes #apjabdulkalam
There’s no doubt that the entire squash circuit in India has gone through some radical changes in the last few years. Of course, Poncha’s contribution has been crucial. Earlier considered as an elitist sport, today squash has more followers and active players. Yet, Poncha is trying to get more corporate backing to the sport. He also feels that the sport requires more TV coverage.
With optimistic and involved coaches like Cyrus Poncha, squash sure has golden opportunities in India. His work on the grassroots level is truly commendable.