It’s raining J&K players at National Squash Championships
Budding players and 'beginners' from Jammu and Kashmir have come in hordes for the National Squash Championships that began in the faraway Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, on Tuesday.
Tournament Director Rajiv Reddy interestingly informed that out of a total 295 entries for the first ever Senior Championships in Kerala, 95 are from Jammu and Kashmir. He says some of the players don't even know how to hold the racquet <g data-gr-id="34">properly</g> but that has not stopped them from making the long train journey from extreme North to South.
"It is really a fascinating story. Even the Mumbai edition last year saw a lot of representation from J&K players. Some of them don't even know how to hold the <g data-gr-id="30">racquet</g> but they are ready to travel all the way," Reddy told PTI.
The growing interest for the game in the valley is a positive sign but doesn't it undermine the competition at <g data-gr-id="28">biggest</g> domestic event?
"It doesn't," replied Reddy. "All the players in the men's category are playing the qualification draw and none of them is expected to enter the main draw. There is definitely interest <g data-gr-id="33">there</g> but I don't know a player who can compete with the top guys. The players who only play the qualifiers for which they get a qualifying certificate and a T-Shirt.
"I am told participation also helps the players get government jobs. That is another reason they turn up in huge numbers," said the official adding that the players come at their own cost and pay Rs 1000 for participation.
For the next edition, Reddy is already ready with a plan to handle the "J&K rush".
"For next year, I have told them to organise a selection camp in J&K first, select about 30-40 players and send them to the nationals.