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History of Squash in India

To understand the how squash was started in India, we need to delve a little into history and understand how it came into prominence.

According to World Squash Federation, squash has become a mainstream sport in countries like Germany, France, Spain, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa and even in a country like United States where it is growing in popularity.

Origins of the Game

The origin of the game is credited to a public school in Harrow, England around 1830’s. The story goes like this – apparently a group of players waiting to play rackets, (the prevailing popular game), were practicing in a small area adjoining the courts and were playing by hitting the ball against the wall. The area was so small that they had to exercise a lot of skill to keep it confined in the small area. The idea caught on and suddenly this became a very popular game around the schools and they used to play the game with balls made of India-rubber (a type of rubber that was initially found in India and hence the name)


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From there on the game spread very quickly and professional associations were created, court dimensions were established and rules were drafted. The sport soon become a favorite of the army and with a lot of private clubs adopting the game it soon came to be seen as ‘elitist’ game.

Early 1900’s saw a lot of professional and national associations cropping in England, taking the sport to the next level

Adoption of Squash in India

With the expansion of British rule and during the world wars this game saw tremendous adoption and almost nearly all the places that British ruled, this game came into prominence. Due to this expansion, almost every army base and cantonment area had squash courts built for the entertainment of the officers. Even now if you look around, the army facilities would still include a squash court, thanks to the legacy handed down by the English.

National Body

Even after independence the game was still off-limits to the regular citizen as the infrastructure for the game still existed mostly in the army and the private clubs. Also the perception of the game was still that, it was meant for rich or elite people. Until recently there was not enough concerted effort to make squash available to everybody and the national body for squash, Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) was formed only in the last few years. The growth and adoption for the game in India was mostly propounded by SRFI which is currently headquartered in Chennai. It has more than 20 State Associations and affiliated units.

Current Tournaments

A lot of progress has been done with an effort to popularize this sport and make it mainstream – there are multiple tournaments from the National Level to the Junior category with different age groups. This ensures that game of squash catches on early and there is a continuous progress to make it to the next level.

The 2016 Men’s and Women’s National Championship was held in Otters Club, Mumbai. In the men’s category Sourav Ghosal beat Harinder Pal Singh while in the women’s category Dipika Pallikal prevailed over Joshna Chinappa to take the championship. A detailed list of the different events and tournament calendar can be found in IndiaSqaush website.

Current Notable Players

There are quite a few contemporary players who are doing great in the national and international level.


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Dipika Pallikal came into prominence in 2011 and has been consistently performing since then, she is the first Indian player to break into the top 10 of PSA Women’s Rankings

Joshna Chinappa is another promising player who is right up there. She reached a career best of world ranking 10 in July 2016.

Sourav Ghosal won the National Championship in 2016

Others players include Ritwik Bhattacharya, Siddharth Suchde etc…

Entry into the Olympics

Squash is regularly featured in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games but, in spite of the huge popularity and adoption of the game world over, squash is still waiting to get into the Olympics stage. Squash narrowly missed out to Golf for the inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympics and is also not going to be featured in the 2020 Olympics to be held in Tokyo. Nicol David, a Malaysian born squash player has been the world number one for a record breaking 108 months before finally ceding her ranking in 2015 and in spite of her achievements, she still does not have the recognition she deserves on a global international stage.

The inability to see the ball clearly on TV, the lack of a sustainable TV audience have been cited as some of the reasons for the non-inclusion of the sport in the global arena. Some of the sporting community are also of the view that in the quest to beat the medal tally among the leading medal scoring countries are also one major reason for the non-inclusion of this sport which in fact defeats the very purpose of the Olympics.


Squash is one of the few games that requires constant movement and tests your stamina and agility to a very high degree. In term of fitness playing an hour of squash is equivalent to burning 800-1000 calories apart from providing an excellent upper and lower body exercise, in fact some people say this is one of the healthiest games to play. Hopefully the current crop of players would ensure that squash is taken to the world podium by Indian players.

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