Dilip Fadte, father of India’s number one squash player Yash Fadte in the U-19 category speaks to Savio Rodrigues, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, GoaChronicle.com on the struggles of being a parent of a Indian child aiming to be the number one squash player in the world with zero-support from State of Goa or Centre…
GoaChronicle: As parent what is your dream for your son Yash Fadte?
Dilip Fadte: I have a dream for India and for Yash. I want Yash to be the number one squash player in the world and I want an Indian to hold the title of the best squash player in the world. Yash has the determination, dedication and devotion to his sport and his country. He wants to bring glory to his nation as a sportsperson.
GC: What are the challenges you’ve faced in encouraging Yash Fadte to pursue and continue to strive for success in the field of squash?
DF: Coming from a state of Goa, we lack the adequate basic infrastructure such as squash courts to encourage young Goans to take up squash as a sport. It is not a sport taught at school level. In fact, I had to build a squash court in Vasco out of my own funds in order for Yash to practice and reach this level of competitiveness. The government at a state-level is only now looking at squash but not as assertively and planned as they do for other sports. I often feel that the talks encouraging sportsperson is mere talks with no focussed effort to work towards upliftment of sportsperson’s career. This disappointing considering our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is boosting and encouraging our sportsperson.
GC: The Chief Minister of Goa Dr Pramod Sawant on the floor of the Assembly promised to provide an annual financial assistance to Yash Fadte off Rs 30 lacs. Is it true? What has happened to the financial assistance of the Goa government?
DF: It is true that the Chief Minister of Goa promised on the floor of the Assembly that Yash Fadte along with two other sportspersons would be granted a financial assistance of Rs 30 lacs. But till today we have not heard a word on that financial assistance post the announcement by Dr Pramod Sawant. In fact, I was called by the Chief Minister to his office. I tried to explain to him the potential of Yash and its importance for Goa and India, but he gave me only five minutes. I suppose he wanted to show the people of Goa that he met Yash Fadte’s parents. But he never heard about our struggles and our want from the government to step in and help us to prepare Yash for the world champion stage.
GC: What is it that you seek from the Goa government?
DF: I seek respect for my son who is a sportsperson. Yash is not Yash. Yash is India. He has dedicated his life to squash with a dream to bring glory to Goa, glory to India. I have seen my son dedicate the best years of his growing up life to chase a dream that I fully support, to see an Indian be number one in squash in the world. More importantly I know he can achieve it, if he gets the right training, financial assistance and encouragement from the government. Till today I have not taken a single penny from the Goa government. We as parents have put all that we have into our son’s dream for India. When he won the US Open Squash Championships in the U-17 category, I fondly remember the late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar calling Yash to congratulate him and also tweeting about it. I believe in the game of Yash not because he is my son but because he has taken his game to a globally competitive level. But in a state where Sports Minister Manohar Azgaonkar has not even called Yash Fadte to congratulate him or encourage him, gives you a hint in the value the Goa government puts to the sport.
GC: Are you seeking any financial assistance for the Goa government or Centre?
DF: I never made the announcement of financial assistance, the Chief Minister of Goa made the announcement. I don’t know if that Rs 30 lacs will ever come. For Yash to be globally competitive and prepare to the next level of squash tournaments, we need a financial assistance of a minimum of Rs 30 lacs annually. I hope that the government of Goa at least releases payments for the various championships Yash has won over the years, which is normally paid to players by the Goa government if they win national or international tournaments.
I personally think the potential of what Yash can achieve for India in squash has not been understood or accepted by the representatives of sports in Goa. Yash is number one in India in U-19 and easily amongst the top seven in the world in his age category, when he gets to the higher competitive-levels, he has the potential to become the top seed in squash. That is huge for our country. It will encourage so many more young sportsperson to look at squash as a promising competitive game.
GC: If they Goa government does not support Yash Fadte in his dream for India, will he stop playing for India?
DF: Yash will never stop playing for India. His aim is to see an Indian as the top ranked player of squash in the world. I am disappointed with the Goa government but not with India. It hurts because as a parent I can see genuine talent in my child, his has proved himself at national and international level. And now when he needs government support the most as he move towards the next level of squash on a global stage, we are treated with humiliation. I can see money being wasted by the government in the name of sports and sports infrastructure but no one cares to see the promise of Yash Fadte in Goa. In fact Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu government have extended support to Yash Fadte but not Goa.
GC: What is the future of a sport such as squash in India?
DF: I come from a family of cricketers. Yash’s twin brother plays cricket. Squash was not a sport we focused on until Yash took a liking to the sport, started to become passionate about it and started to excel in it. Being around him and managing his playing passion, I started to understand the sport, its nuances and its potential. It is wonderful and difficult sport which requires a lot a stamina and technique. It has a huge potential for children in Goa and India but it requires government support through the development of infrastructure and coaches to encourage and train youngsters to pick up the sport. Yash wants to be an inspiration for many young Indians to excel in squash, he wants to inspire them by his performance and by achieving great heights at a global stage. He will not stop till he get to the number one position.