The Tour will provide Indian players with a platform to compete against the world’s best and boost their international rankings
Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL), a leading global conglomerate, today launched the HCL-SRFI India Tour which falls under the HCL Squash Podium Program. The multi-city PSA Challenger tour in the country will provide Indian players with an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the world’s best players at the home turf. HCL and SRFI plan to organise four PSA tournaments across four cities in India. The first tournament will be hosted at the Jaypee Greens Stadium, Greater Noida on August 23. This championship will see participation from top players from India and seven countries.
Although the hosting of PSA tournaments of $50K or $30K level is not new in India, a competition of this level (with prize money of $12K for men and $6K for women) is taking place in the country after a gap of many years. It will prove to be a convenient platform to perform for Indian players, who otherwise had to travel overseas to take part in such tournaments in order to improve their game and PSA ranking.
Each tournament under the HCL-SRFI India tour will overlap with a junior squash tournament to offer the young players a platform to interact with the senior players and learn from them. The HCL 11th Indian Junior Open will commence on August 26. It will be a 6-Star tournament by SRFI as well as a Platinum event under the Asian Squash Federation calendar.
HCL had earlier launched the Squash Podium Program in May 2019 in association with the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) to provide a significant boost to the country’s Squash ecosystem. The multi-pronged program is focused on providing a 360-degree overhaul in Indian Squash by enhancing both the players (senior and junior) as well as the coaching standards as well as developing the overall prominence of the sport in the country.
“Want to help Squash in India”
“HCL’s core brand philosophy is to touch lives, and therefore, we invest in fields that will benefit and reach the maximum number of audiences. Sports, as a category, connects people across age groups regardless of whether they play a particular sport themselves or not. And we specifically pick up sports which do not receive organised institutional backing – Squash is one such game,” Rajat Chandolia, Head of Brand Strategy and Sports Initiatives, HCL Corporation said while speaking about the HCL Squash Podium Program.
“HCL’s support to Squash started three years back, and we are now strengthening our commitment with the aim of significantly enhancing the existing Squash ecosystem in the country. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that we are able to support Indian players to finish at the podium,” he added.
Cyrus Poncha, Secretary-General, SRFI said, “Indian Squash in gaining a lot of attention with players like Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghoshal securing important international wins for the country. However, as a nation, it is imperative that we invest in nurturing the next generation stars of Squash to ensure that Indian Squash not only continues its success but emerges at the top.”
“With HCL, we have found common synergies in terms of our goals for Indian Squash. I am confident that through our combined efforts we will help our country take its rightful place in the pantheon of great squash playing nations,” he added.
HCL has been supporting Squash in the country for over three years now and has been organising HCL Junior Squash tournament since 2016. HCL scaled-up its efforts by partnering with SRFI to hold the HCL Senior National Squash Championship in 2017 and again in 2018. As part of the HCL Squash Podium program, HCL has already hosted a High-Performance camp in June with the help of SRFI. This camp provided intensive training to 32 junior players, who were selected to represent India at the Asian and World Championships under British coach – Chris Ryder. Going Forward, HCL and SRFI will also host another High-Performance Camp, Referee Clinics and training camps for coaches.
Founded in 1976 as one of India’s original IT garage start-ups, HCL is a pioneer of modern computing with many firsts to its credit, including the introduction of the 8-bit microprocessor-based computer in 1978 well before its global peers. Today, the HCL Enterprise has a presence across varied sectors that include technology, healthcare and talent management solutions and comprises three companies – HCL Infosystems, HCL Technologies and HCL Healthcare. The enterprise generates annual revenues of over US $8.9 billion with more than 144,000 employees from 140 nationalities operating across 44 countries. For further information, visit here.
The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) was instituted to oversee the promotion as well as the development of Squash in India. Headquartered Chennai, the SRFI has over 20 state associations and affiliated units. The federation is affiliated to World Squash Federation/Asian Squash Federation. apart from being recognised by Government of India. SRFI has been forging ahead with active plans to ensure the promotion and development of the sport at all levels.