Union Minister for External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar and Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Shri Anurag Thakur inaugurated the Squash Courts at the Major Dhyanchand Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. These are the first-ever Squash courts opened by the Sports Authority of India in any centre across the country. Smt. Sujata Chaturvedi, Secretary Sports, Sandip Pradhan, Director General, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Neelesh Shah, Director (Projects), NBCC, among others were also present during the inauguration ceremony.
Addressing the event, Dr S Jaishankar, 68, an avid Squash enthusiast, said, “I am really very happy to inaugurate the Squash courts today. The Ministry of Sports is solely responsible for the entire project and making the facilities available. Many sports now are getting recognition and the message sent out by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi Ji to inculcate a lifestyle of fitness and give chance to talents is being resonated everywhere. Modi Ji always stresses physical fitness, competitiveness and mental strength, which is needed for New India.”
Dr S Jaishankar also mentioned that the Government of India will do everything possible to create more such sports facilities in the country. “We will ensure creating as many sports facilities as possible. I started playing Squash at the age of 24 and I am 68 today. All we need is good facilities, a good coach and an intention to play! Khelo India and Fit India are for one and all. This has no age limit.”
The foundation stone of the project was laid by former Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju back in December 2020. Various meetings were held at the senior level among representatives from Squash Racket Federation, and Eminent Players and it was decided that a total of 6 squash courts be constructed at the stadium. Out of these 6, a total of 3 singles courts shall be kept as convertible courts, which will be convertible to 2 doubles courts.
Shri Anurag Singh Thakur, reiterating the vision of the Prime Minister, said, “Narendra Modi Ji has always wanted increasing strength and competitiveness in sports as well as mental belief. Having this facility in the national capital is another way of achieving that aim. When there is an opportunity like this, there is a possibility of new stars emerging.
Referring to how young champions can benefit from the Government of India schemes, Shri Thakur added, “I have full belief that having such a world-class Squash infrastructure will definitely target more such promising champions in the coming years and we are ready to support them through our Target Olympic Podium Scheme and Khelo India Scheme. India has bagged a total of 3 medals at the Commonwealth Games over the years and 13 medals at the Asian Games in the sport of Squash. This tally will keep increasing.”
The construction of the Squash Courts at Major Dhyanchand stadium was sanctioned at the Governing Body meeting of the Sports Authority of India for a total cost of Rs 5.52 crore. The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), owned by the Government of India, completed the project overcoming Covid 19 related and pollution-related restrictions in New Delhi.
The complex has a seating area for 80 persons, toilets for male, female and disabled persons, tournament room/office room, physiotherapy room, store, reception lobby, maintenance area etc. The structure is made by factory-finished custom design PEB superstructure with ASB system 100 walls approved by the world squash federation, having roofing of PUF insulated with lamination.