START Academy is located in Kalote-Mokashi, an old tribal village. We consider Kalote-Mokashi our home, and treat it as such. We have over a hundred players from the village itself!
As soon as START first came to life in 2017, we built a relationship with the village and today, the two go hand in hand. All our staff is local, and the academy has helped develop the village in terms of roadwork, housing, local employment, and standard of living.
Before START began, the inhabitants of Kalote-Mokashi had never even heard of squash. However, the kids from the village took to it very naturally when it began. They were intrigued, and under Ritwik's guidance and coaching, they worked hard and developed a disciplined schedule. Only a few months later, a selected number of kids went to the Junior Nationals held in Ajmer, with it being the first time out of their village for many!
After that, they took to playing tournaments in various parts of India, including Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur, etc. Today, they are fully adapted to the life of a sportsperson, and are on their way to reaping all the benefits being a sportsperson has to offer. We continue to work with as many players as possible, and are sure that they can go on to do great things in sport.
You can find some pictures of the players from Kalote-Mokashi below!
Note: Hover over each picture for a description.
We currently train more than 100 players from Kalote-Mokashi village. Some of them have already been very successful, and we have no doubt that they will continue to work hard and do extremely well in their careers. Through Ritwik and Stephan, they have been trained using the most recent coaching techniques and they fact that they already have tournament experience shows that they are well equipped to take the world of squash by storm.
Additionally, they are more than just players. They can coach, string rackets (as fast as anyone!), etc. They're integration int START has opened up many opportunities for them,opportunities that might not have been as readily available for them otherwise.
RURAL + URBAN
We have players from all over the country come and train at START, right from the junior levels to the professional levels. We are devoted to bridging rural and urban, and at our academy, all the kids train together. We also come together for various off court events and volunteer services. These include trips to the Kalote Animal Trust (a neighbouring animal shelter), yoga camps with Mihir Jog, art activities and cleaning drives.