Racquetball: India at World Championship

Banglore: India will field a three-member strong contingent at the upcoming World Racquetball Championships to be held in Seoul, Korea, from August 13 to August 21. The World Championships, a biennial event, is an extremely prestigious event on the international Racquetball calendar. This year the event is expected to attract the top players from around the world, with around 40 countries likely to participate.

Thirty-two-year-old Sathwik  Rai, a former junior Indian national level swimmer, will captain the team at the all-important Championships. The other two members are Srikaran Kandadai and Raaj Mohan. All three playing members currently reside in the US and have a range of accolades in the sport to their individual credit, despite being full-time working professionals.

The Indian team will take part in both the “Individual” and “Team” events at the Championships. The Team event determines country standings and is modeled along the Olympic drop down format. Raaj Mohan, the only Indian to receive the “All-American”award in Racquetball twice, and Sathwik Rai, who won a silver medal in his age and skill division in his very first appearance at a US National tournament, will play the Individual Singles. Srikaran Kandadai, who won a gold medal in his skill division in his first US National Tournament in 2007, and Sathwik Rai will compete in the Individual Doubles event. All three players will participate in the Team event.

Creditably, the team members have managed to raise sponsorship and crucial funding needed to pursue their sport, despite not having the backing of a professional body. Internet-based medical software solutions company, Nuesoft, is the official team sponsor.

India has had representation at the World Championships since 1998, and is set to participate for the seventh time in Seoul. However, this year’s competition takes on particular significance, as it represents the first time an Indian team will be playing after the formation of the Amateur Racquetball Federation of India (AFRI), which was set up in Mumbai in 2009.

“The three of us are thrilled to have qualified for these all-important Championships and look forward to putting our best foot forward in Seoul. Not many Indians may be aware that there is a national Racquetball team and we hope that our performance in Korea will raise awareness of the sport and the team in India. Racquetball is an exciting fast paced sport and we would love to see this sport grow in India,” commented team captain, Sathwik Rai.

Racquetball is quite similar to the game of squash and is popular in North and South America, Canada, Europe and some countries of South Asia. It is usually played indoors and is an extremely fast paced aerobic sport.  A well taken shot can easily get the ball rolling at speeds of 150-180 mph.

The three playing members will be joined by seven members of the ARFI in Korea. For more information, please visit www.racquetballindia.com

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