There's a sports buzz going on in India right now, one that's sure to impact the entire world if it gains traction.
The sport in question? None other than squash.
A string of wins in recent international tournaments seems to have created a squash renaissance in South Asia. After clinching gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the women's double tournament this year, Joshana Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal look set to become stars of the sport.
Meanwhile, Saurav Ghosal, Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, Kush Kuamr and Mahesh Manaonkar Mahesh of the Indian men's team won gold at the Asian Games in September, proving that India is well on its way to becoming a major force in the world of squash. In a country where squash isn't nearly as popular as mainstays like cricket, field hockey, and soccer, the added prestige of having internationally recognized talent on both the men's and women's side of the spectrum can go a long way in promoting the sport throughout the country.
Sport and History
This isn't the nation's first rodeo though. Always maintaining a firm community of devotees to the sport, India has produced many top players in squash for generations. However, this new wave of players has excited the country in a way that has not been seen in years, and many citizens are excited about the challenges and fun that the game provides, as well as the national pride they've experienced in watching their fellow countrymen and women win top awards on a global scale.
Mixing Fun and Elegance
Like tennis and golf, squash is a sport that is slowly transforming from a largely elite activity to a popular pastime. With its origins in the public school system of Britain, squash has had a reputation for years as an upper class sport. In fact, Yale University still has dormitories with built-in squash courts tucked away on its campus. India is one of many countries bringing squash into the mainstream though, with these recent victories bolstering that effort.
With squash quickly becoming a sport that anyone can play, new fans are finding numerous reasons to enjoy it in their own lives. Its action is fast, with quick-fire shots and intense movement defining the game to its legion of passionate followers. Because squash is played against four walls rather than over a net and open court, competitors can also devise strategies to outwit and outmaneuver their opponent in extremely creative ways by using angled shots and different ball speeds. Part puzzle and part court game, squash can appeal to anyone interested in its myriad possibilities for breadth of challenge.
Squash as Fitness Program
In addition, because of the game's intensity, squash is also an excellent option for people looking to tone their bodies and improve their health. The sport requires a large degree of movement around the court due to the speed at which matches are played, and in a few rounds most people can get their recommended daily cardio.
With so much excitement surrounding these new developments, squash may be headed to the status of a major sport in India. As the country takes the lead in the world championships, the future may hold bright tidings indeed for India's dominance in the squash world.