Earlier this month,when the Indian women’s squash team claimed its maiden Asian title with a 2-0 win over Hong Kong in the Asian Squash Championships at Kuwait,one person in Chandigarh was eagerly following the progress of Indian women’s and men’s teams in the championship. Satinder Pal Bajwa,former Harvard University squash coach and former coach of eight-time world champion Jansher Khan of Pakistan,believes that the Indian players are now emerging on the world circuit and are now a force to reckon with at the Asian level.
“The way Joshna Chinnappa and Deepika Pallakal played in the Asian Championship final is commendable. The girls showed superb confidence and one of their main strengths was that they played according to their plan and concentrated on their defense as well. The victory over the 16th ranked Joey Chan in the final will give Joshna,who is ranked 71st in the world,lots of confidence. Deepika’s win over world number seven Annie Au showed that she is constantly improving her game,” said the 56-year-old coach,who is nowadays in Chandigarh to help young children learn squash at his NGO Khelshala.
While the men’s team lost to arch rivals Pakistan in the final in the Asian Championship,the coach is of the view that the team has a right balance and players like Saurav Ghosal and Sidharth Suchde,along with youngster Harindepal Singh Sandhu,are doing well at the international circuit. Earlier in the championship,the Indian men’s team defeated Japan in the quarter-finals and hosts Kuwait in the semis before losing to Pakistan in the final.
Suchde,a Harvard University graduate played squash under Bajwa at the university’s campus early in his career and the coach sees a bright future for the youngster. “The final against Pakistan was a close one. Sourav has been working hard in his game and Sidharth is a player to watch out. He used to play under me at Harvard and he is a emerging player. The other youngster Harinderpal Singh is a very versatile player and he has impressed the selectors a lot. He has a sound defense and also did well in the Asian Junior Championship last year. The teams need to play more against countries like Egypt and England and it will help them a lot,” said Bajwa.
Apart from coaching the children of Attawa village,Bajwa has planned a summer squash camp for the youngster of the city from June 3 to June 16. The camp will be held at the Khelshala Courts at Hotel Sagar in Sector 42 and Bajwa will impart coaching to the youngsters. The registration fee for the camp is Rs 500 and the camp fee will be Rs 2500. “For the last two years,we have been coaching the kids of the village and this time I want to coach the players and youngsters. Squash is a game which can be learnt quickly and I see a bright future for players coming from this region. The reason Pakistan has excelled at the world level is that they have a very good club culture. Indians need that culture here and I am sure it will help the players,” shared Bajwa.
Camp from June 3
The camp will be held from June 3 to June 16 at Khelshala Courts,Hotel Sagar,Sector 42 and registration fee for the camp is Rs 500. The camp fee for the 14-day camp is Rs 2500 and the youngster will be taught the basics of the game along with coaching lessons by Bajwa.