Squash champ Ritwik Bhattacharya, last seen fighting his fears as one of the four finalists in Khatron Ke Khiladi 3 on Colors, will soon start coaching school kids in the sport. “I’m at the end of my professional squash career now that spanned over a decade. I’ve travelled across the country and have had several international tours too. I’ve noticed that in India, the sport needs structure. It has niche following and there aren’t too many places to train,” says Bhattacharya, who will be getting into school development programmes.
“We need to create a base for the game first. I’d like to start at school level, training kids in squash. At a later stage, we can look at approaching colleges and other institutions. There has to be infrastructure for kids to train, just the way there are plenty of cricket-training academies. Eventually, parents will encourage kids to take up a career in squash. Right now, there are just a handful of adolescents who are interested in the game,” he points out.
The once-national-squash-champ was the first of the accomplished junior players to spurn an education in the United States to follow his dreams in squash. He also trained in England for five years. “As a sportsperson, I want to pass on my experience and knowledge of the game to youngsters. It’s no use keeping it to my chest because that will not help the game flourish in the country,” he says.
Bhattacharya supported the Indian squash squad at the Commonwealth Games that concluded yesterday. “Sadly, I wasn’t part of the contingent but I watched my colleagues play. We tried hard, maybe better luck next time,” he says.
No more TV
Meanwhile, several sportspersons are being approached for TV reality shows, ranging from dance to other activities. Would he like to take up another show? “No way,” says Bhattacharya. “I took up KKK 3 because I had time and it was an adventure show which I enjoy. I don’t think I can take more of TV now.”
Now, that he will be travelling less for tours and will have some time to spare, wouldn’t he like to get married to long time sweetheart, actor Neha Dhupia, with whom he reportedly broke up in June this year? Without speaking about the ‘reported’ break-up, Bhattacharya says, “Marriage is not on the cards yet for me. I have a lot more to do before I get into that commitment.”
Prod him on Dhupia and he says, “We’re very good friends, we hang around together, watch movies, eat out and party. It’s because of Neha that I understand the nuances of cinema so well. I’ve seen her shoot films. I love watching movies and she loves talking about them in great depths. As for marriage, I don’t know what her plans really are.”