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Indian Squash team head to Asian Games without an official coach

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Indian Squash team head to Asian Games without an official coach

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SportsCafe Desk


The Indian squash contingent will travel to Indonesia next month without a head coach after the Squash Racket Federation of India failed to appoint a successor to former coach Achraf El Karargui. The likes of Saurav Ghosal, Dipika Pallikal, and Joshna Chinappa have all been training individually.

The Indian athletes, who will travel to Indonesia next month for the 2018 edition of the Asian Games, have entered the final phase of their preparation as the quadrennial competition edges closer day by day. However, things seem to be working out differently for the Indian squash team who will travel to Palembang without a full-time head coach for this year’s continental fiasco.

The Squash Racket Federation of India (SRFI) failed to appoint a full-time head coach after the controversial exit of Egyptian coach Achraf El Karargui. A SAI official has told PTI that SRFI did not recommend a single name for the coach's job ever since the departure of Karargui, who quit earlier this year in March ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, when he got fed up of an "unprofessional" SRFI. 

Top players Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa have been training individually ever since Karagui’s departure. But the former has been training individually since March while being funded by the government and is adamant to do well in next month’s elite tournament.

“In an ideal scenario, it would be nice for all of us to train together for team events but that is not possible at the moment. It is really sad that someone of the calibre of Karargui had to go and no one has replaced him yet. Having said that, my individual training has been going well. I had a fruitful stint with David Palmer (former world number one) in the US and now I am here at Pontefract, which has been my training base ever since I was 18.

“So, the players who mostly train in India would benefit a lot more from a full-time coach than someone like me,” Ghosal told PTI sources.

Cyrus Poncha has been the national coach on paper but it is the foreign coach who was always in charge of things as far as the training of players was concerned. Poncha and former national champion Bhuvneshwari Kumari will accompany the squad to Jakarta but the senior players feel they will be of little help and will choose to rely on each other for technical and tactical advice.

Besides Ghosal, Sandhu, Pallikal, and Chinappa, the other members of the Asian Games squash squad were Sunayna Kuruvilla, Tanvi Khanna, Ramit Tandon and Mahesh Mangaonkar.

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