Racketlon chief Duncan Stahl optimistic of sport getting popular in India

Updated: Jan 09, 2020, 08:05 IST | Ronald Chettiar | Mumbai

Though the concept is new in India, Naval Commander Ashutosh Pedneker has won gold medals in tournaments held in Denmark and Belgium in 2016

India's racketlon player Ashutosh Pednekar (extreme left), FIR President Duncan Stahl (left), RISA chief Kaushal Cheema and RISA vice-president Munish Dhawan (right) on Tuesday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
India's racketlon player Ashutosh Pednekar (extreme left), FIR President Duncan Stahl (left), RISA chief Kaushal Cheema and RISA vice-president Munish Dhawan (right) on Tuesday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

India is set to host its first Racketlon World Tour event from January 10 to 12 in Udaipur and the pillars of this four-game (squash, badminton, TT and tennis) concept are confident of it being lapped up in this part of the world.

Though the concept is new in India, Naval Commander Ashutosh Pedneker has won gold medals in tournaments held in Denmark and Belgium in 2016.

Recently, India won one gold, three silvers and two bronze medals at the Thailand Open 2020.

Giving racketlon a boost is Kaushal Cheema, the president of Racketlon India Sports Association (RISA) and a former National badminton champion.

Cheema invited Briton Duncan Stahl, the President of Federation of International Racketlon to guide the Indian association in their quest to leave no stone unturned when it comes to organising events. Stahl appeared upbeat over the sport getting super popular.

He also emphasised the benefits of playing a variety of sports which racketlon is all about.

Stahl quoted 20-time Grand Slam tennis champion Roger Federer on how playing squash helped him improve in tennis. "Federer as a junior played a lot of different sports. He played lot of squash at a high level even after starting his tennis career. When he was interviewed on American TV last year and was asked to give some advice to young players, he said that junior players specialise too early, burn out and lose interest. They physically don't develop in an all-round way and are more susceptible to injuries. And one of the reasons he has been able to keep himself fit for a long period of time is because he has a real background of sports behind him. He did not specialise in tennis too early. He finished the interview by saying, 'my advice to parents of tennis-playing juniors is go let them play squash. It will be great for them,' " Stahl said.

Cheema admitted that a lot of work needs to be done going forward. "In India, all the four racquet games are extremely popular. But the real challenge is to popularise the sport as it is an unknown subject. It took me almost one year to make people understand the sport," he said.

RISA's senior advisor Munish Dhawan said that the association is working towards getting a famous Indian cricketer to promote the sport.

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