Shri N Ramachandran – Felicitated by The President of India


Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, India

The President's House - Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi

Establishment and Management of Sports Academies of Excellence

Mr. N.  Ramachandran added another feather to his already illustrious cap as today he was conferred with  Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar for 2011 by The President of India – Smt. Prathibha Devisingh Patil. At the packed ceremonial hall in Rashtrapati Bhawan today. 

For the dedicated, and hardworking Mr. Ramachandran this meant more than close to decade and a half of dedication to the sport of Squash Rackets. A sport which was played by Indian Military Officers, and handful others. Considered an elitist sport by most. In a country which is ravaged by Cricket it was always going to be difficult for RAMY as he is popularly known among friends. 

 With his path laden with this reality Mr. Ramachandran took unto himself to move forward with  purpose. His vision has seen the emergance of the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai and a  development program that has contributed to the game today finding a rightful place in the Indian  Sports Arena.

 Squash has been played in India since the pre-war days. To a large extent it was introduced by the  British forces that built squash courts in military cantonments and private clubs as an outlet for  their sporting interests. In the early days squash had the following of a smattering few who were  either from the forces, members of private clubs or children returning from studies abroad. It  certainly fitted the name it was given at that time – a bourgeois sport.

An organised activity for the promotion of the game was non-existent. Over time, however, things changed. The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) was formed to oversee the promotion and development of the sport in IndiaNeedless to mention results did not rush in with a gush as a lack of systematic structure was posing unending problems. Non-existence of public facilities, lack of qualified manpower and public awareness of the game was pathetic. This is about the time Mr Ramachandran took reigns of the Association and after taking hold of the situation very methodically started working on the sport.

About 5 years ago the SRFI forged ahead with some dynamic plans. Squash promotion, development and performance at all levels in India have escalated more in the last 10 years than in the last 50.  The presence of ISA has seen Tamil Nadu emerge as the most  ‘squash active’ state in India mainly due to the work put in by the TNSRA and its governing board and the world class squash facilities. 

The Indian Squash Academy boasts of two complexes; one with 3 glass back rainbow courts and the other a state of the art centre with 4 glass back rainbow courts that are convertible to 2 doubles courts together with a Center ASB 4 sided all glass court  which enables  television coverage from all angles.

The collective effort put in at the Academy under the supervision of World Class Coaches and trainers has seen the emergence of players like Ritwik Bhattacharya the first Indian Male or Female Squash Player to break into World Top 40.  Following in his foot steps was another Indian Saurav Ghosal who went a few ranks above his contemporary to get into World Top 30 for Men’s. Saurav who has age on his side is likely to break into Top 10 very soon.

If Men were performing well so were the women first it was a local girl from Chennai Joshna Chinappa who broke into Top 50 for Women. She is presently ranked 31st in the World. Following her was another local girl from Chennai – Dipika Pallikal who did one better than Joshna and is presently ranked 24 in the World.  There are others in  Harinder Pal Singh, Siddhart Suchde and many other emerging juniors knocking hard for a place in Top World Rankings like their seniors and contemporaries – Indian Squash suddenly is the most happening thing in the world.

The Academy is ably staffed by a National Consultant Coach – Major Maniam from Malaysia. Major Maniam has been the coach of Nicole David the reigning World Women Squash Champion. Besides he is a household name in Malaysia for his admirable contribution to Malaysian Squash that has produced world ranking players in Nicole David, On Beng Hee and Alzan Iskander.

Major Maniam is ably assisted by our very own Cyrus Poncha someone who the world has come to know for his admirable exploits as coach through his illustrious pupils. Cyrus incidentally is a recipient of the Dronacharya Award 2005 presented by the then president Shri APJ Abdul Kalam.

Mr Ramachandran has already headed the Asian Squash Federation and a few years ago took the reigns of the World Squash Federation as its President. To know more about this please click here on our earlier post covering that event……… Ramachandran to Head World Squash Federation.

S4H Unlimited blogs Congratulates the WSF President – Mr. Ramachandran and wishes him greater success in his next ambition of – Taking Squash into Olympics – a continued struggle of many squash players, fans and supporters whose weight his shoulders carry.

To read more about Ramy’s Vision on how he sees the game in the near future please click on the following link….. SQUASH 2 SCALE NEW HEIGHTS  

Happy Squashing ! 

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