CHENNAI: Organisers of the 19th Asian Squash Championships were forced to change venues abruptly after the wooden flooring of the glass court at Express Avenue sustained damage here on Thursday.
The last three matches of the day were shifted to the second venue at the Indian Squash Academy after the rear end of the flooring sustained damage.
The damage was first reported to officials by Joshna Chinappa while she was playing Jemyca Aribado of Philippines. However, play continued and she went on to win the match comfortably. But conditions worsened after the match.
Dipika Pallikal was scheduled to play the next match. After discussing with the players, a decision was taken to move the matches to the Indian Squash Academy. “When you step in that area, the loose floorboard goes in. It was very springy and was not very safe for the players. It is not unplayable and looks like a small issue, but it is definitely risky to continue playing without getting it fixed,” Joshna said.
Court officials revealed that the floor had shifted a bit and more pressure on the area could have caused severe damage.
Joshna also said that this is the second time she had faced this issue. The first was a few weeks ago at the World Championship in El Gouna.
Tournament director Cyrus Poncha explained that the decision to shift play was taken as most players have a busy schedule and can’t afford to get injured. The flooring was checked and seemed fine before the day’s play. Cyrus also mentioned that such instances are common in squash.
“This is a temporary glitch. We are hopeful of getting the issue sorted as soon as possible. We will move heaven and earth to make sure we come back and play here tomorrow (Friday). In the worst-case scenario, we can also move all the matches to the Indian Squash Academy. The matches will go on as scheduled,” he said. “This doesn’t happen every day and in every tournament. But it does happen,” he added.
The repair works have already started and the tournament is expected to proceed without any further delays.