New Delhi: Squash player Vikram Malhotra said it is saddening that shooting would not be part of the next Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 and hopes that the situation gets better.

“For anybody involved in the sport where something like that is happening…I can’t imagine how hard it must be for them. But at the same time I don’t know enough of what’s going on to be able to comment on that. For the shooters, it’s very sad but hopefully things will get better,” the former world number 55 told The Sunday Guardian during the launch of PSA challenger tour.

Vikram along with Egypt’s Farida Mohamed, ranked 50, will be the favourites to win the PSA title when they take the court at the Jaypee Greens stadium in Greater Noida on August 23.

Vikram is making a comeback from double ankle injury and is looking forward to lift the trophy. “I had double ankle injury two-three months back. It was a tough period for me. I am just excited to be out there. I will try to give my best in this tournament,” the 29-year-old said.

The tournament is launched by HCL and the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI). They plan to organise four PSA tournaments across four cities where the Indian players will get an opportunity to compete against the world’s best at home turf.

This tournament will witness participation from top Indian players and international players from seven countries.

Aditya Jagtap, Aadit Zaveri, Abhishek Pradhan and Abhishek Agarwal are some other names that will compete in the men’s event.

Among the Egyptian players, apart from Farida, Salma Youssef, Menna Hamed, Menna Hamed and Hana Moataz, will feature in the women’s event.

While PSA tournaments have been hosted in India earlier at USD 50,000 or USD 30,000 level, this level of tournament (with prize money of  USD 12000 for men and USD 6000 for women) is taking place in the country after a gap of several years.

“The women’s champion will get a direct entry in the World Championship to be held in Egypt in October,” said SRFI Secretary General Cyrus Poncha.

Each tournament under the HCL-SRFI India tour will overlap with a junior squash tournament to allow the young players an opportunity to interact with the senior players. The PSA tournament at Jaypee Greens will overlap with the HCL 11th Indian Junior Open, commencing on August 26.

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