Swiss squash player Ambre Allinckx is one of the best in her country in the junior level of the game. The 16-year-old skipped the World Junior Squash Championship being currently held in Chennai, and at least two newspapers quoted her coach, Pascal Bruhin, citing safety in India as the reason for the young player missing the games. However, Ambre’s parents have now released a statement denying that they were concerned about her safety in the country – or that that was the reason why she skipped the championship.
In a statement, Ambre’s parents Igor and Valarie said, “Ambre is right now mobed in social media. Actually, we, as parents, NEVER were concerned about safety in India. This is a lie or a journalist invention.”
Speaking to TNM, her father Igor elaborated, “We decided in September 2017 that for this season she would play European U17 but not Worlds because she can (and will) still play it twice as she is 16 only. (age limit is 19) Furthermore I had to plan the family holidays in July as in August I have to work and we will not have family summer holidays together for the coming years. That are the only 2 reasons. Would this tournament take place in any other place of the world we would have done exactly the same.”
Ambre’s coach Pascal Bruhin had told Times of India, “Ambre is our country's number 1 junior and she had reached the third place play-off in the European Junior Championship in March. But unfortunately, her parents did not allow her to come to India to play this tournament after reading stories on the internet about heinous crimes against girls. I tried to plead with them because this is a World Championship and I felt she had a very good chance but they were adamant and I could not argue further because it is after all the safety of their child.”
According to The New Indian Express, he said, “Ambre Allinckx is our top-ranked women’s player. She couldn’t make it because her parents did not want. They have been reading reports on the internet about how unsafe India is for women and didn’t want to take the risk of sending their daughter over. However, we have not experienced any disturbance so far.”
Sources in both newspapers said that they have recordings of Pascal’s interview and that the allegation that the reports were made up are false.
Meanwhile sources in the squash circle say that the parents could have released a statement under pressure from the World Squash Federation or they had been unaware of the coach's statement. The father in his statement had said that Ambre was being mobbed on social media. Sources confirmed to TNM that Ambre had received many abuses on her Instagram account and she had been forced to make it a private account.
Speaking to TNM, sources in the federation pointed out that they had made it clear from the very beginning that the matter was being blown out of proportion. "The family is clearly holidaying. We don't know why such a report was being circulated," he says. "We are however yet to clarify with the coach regarding this matter. The question of safety of players was never a concern."