Times of India article on Saurav Ghosal

Joshna Chinappa is fighting her own battle with the Squash and Racquet Federation of India (SRFI) and the other players are not involved, Asian Games bronze medallist Saurav Ghosal told TOI on Friday. “She has some issues with the SRFI, which are purely hers,” Ghosal, in the city for a short break, said. “The stand-off between Joshna and the SRFI has a long history. She is a very talented player and I hope she sorts out her problems soon,” he added. Joshna, the country’s No 1 woman squash player, has been at loggerheads with the SRFI, blaming the organisation for trying to ruin her career.

Ghosal, however, said that the SRFI has treated him quite well. “I have had no such problems as Joshna. In fact, the SRFI has helped me in my career.” Joshna is an aberration for SRFI, added Ghosal. “There are one or two such cases, but otherwise the SRFI has a huge role to play in shaping up players’ careers in the country.” Joshna has alleged that SRFI coach Cyrus Poncha has used her name for personal gains.
Ghosal, however, is willing to give due credit to SRFI for his Doha Games bronze medal, which was a landmark achievement for squash in India. “Apart from being a personal achievement, I think this medal will help squash in India. More money would come into the game now and we are hoping that the government will give squash a priority status.” That would mean more grants for SRFI and Ghosal is certain that the parent body will utilise this money to promote players. “More money would mean more exposure for us and standard will definitely improve.”
Ghosal, who left the city for Chennai because the infrastructure was much better in the southern metropolis, feels Kolkata hasn’t made much improvement since his departure. “I left for Chennai four years ago and am disappointed to say that the city still does not have a system in place to promote the game.”  Ghosal feels he and another city boy Ramit Tandon have prospered mainly because of their talent rather than the system. “I can’t see any other player from Kolkata doing well on the national circuit.”
Ghosal, who is all set to take over from Ritwik Bhattacharya the mantle of being India’s top-ranked player, is currently world No 49. Bhattacharya is number 44. Ghosal has the talent to be placed much higher on the ladder and the Doha bronze is the just the boost he needed.

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January squash rankings

PSA:
41 Ritwik Bhattacharya
51 Saurav Ghosal
190 Siddharth Suchde
195 Gaurav Nandrajog
217 Harinder Pal Sandhu, Parthiban Ayappan
265 Naresh Kumar
321 Supreet Singh

WISPA:
41 Joshna Chinappa
132 Anwesha Reddy, Dipika Pallikal, Surbhi Misra

Mahesh Mangaokar, Ravi Dixit win Scottish Squash Jr Open

Ravi Dixit had another 80-odd minute battle before he could claim his maiden European title here in Edinburgh at the Heriot–Watt University Squash Centre. Ravi played flawless squash against Malaysia’s Cheong Kah Wah in the first two games to win both comfortably. The third was a much closer affair with both players hitting very tight length and picking up all shots exceedingly well. Ravi served for the match twice at 8-6 but was unable to convert as Wah took it 10-8.
The Malaysian came out strong in the fourth, hitting some brilliant winners and rushed to an 8-1 lead in a single hand. Ravi managed to claw six points back with some effective short kills but ultimately lost the game. The fifth was a very close tussle with both players going neck and neck, Ravi seemed to be fitter but Wah ran down everything. At 6-6, Ravi hit a back hand drop into the nick and a forehand drive clinger on the next rally to earn another match point, 8-6.  Wah came back with an amazing volley nick, but Ravi managed to pull it back again and won it this time with a forehand drive the Malaysian couldn’t return.
This maiden international victory was very special for National Champion Ravi, who shifted his base from Dhampur to the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai a year ago. “I have trained so hard to win an international event and I have done it!!’ He thanked the SRFI, his coaches at the ICL Academy and the Delhi Squash Association for all their support and effort and though exhausted, promised to give it his best at the British Junior starting on 2nd January.
There was more joy for the Indian contingent  as top seeded Mahesh Mangaonkar lifted the Boys U13 crown. Mahesh used all his experience to win the first game from 7-5 down. 11 year old American Dylan Murray ran for every ball, putting a lot of pressure of Mahesh, and played his heart out in the third, forcing Mahesh to make many unforced errors. Another close game in the fourth but Mahesh stepped on the pace and won it 9-7 to claim his sixth international junior title.

Saumya Karki was unable to make it a hat trick for the Indians, her Egyptian opponent Manat Allah Naser was very consistent and played well to defeat Saumya in straight games. Aparajitha Balamurukan defeated Sachika Balvani in straight games to win the all-Indian Girls U13 3rd/4th playoff. Read more of this post

Ravi, Mahesh & Saumya in Scottish Final

Ravi Dixit playing his first European event reached ,the finals at the Scottish Junior Open played at the Heriot – Watt University in Edinburgh in a dramatic 5-game tussle. Down two games he came up trumps by sheer grit in his match against Mexico’s Milles Zarazua R which lasted well over an hour. Ravi played some outstanding drops throughout the match which were retrieved by his opponent, but Ravi proved the fitter and won the deciding game. Earlier in the day Ravi defeated Allaa Radwan of Egypt 10-9, 9-1, 9-1 in 25 minutes.
Top seeded Mahesh charged into the final of the Boys U13. In his semi final encounter he defeated Joshua Sekhar of Canada 9-3, 9-2, 10-8 in 30 minutes. Having reached the finals two years ago in the under 11 category Mahesh will play Dylan Murray of the USA, which will certainly be a close encounter
Saumya Karki defeated country mate Aparajitha Balamurukan to enter the Girls U13 final. Read more of this post

Hindu: SRFI honours squash coaches

The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) awarded National-level coaches for their outstanding contribution for the development of the sport in India in 2006. Maj. Maniam, Consultant Coach, SRFI, said “such a gathering of coaches from around the country enriches the knowledge of the participants towards a scientific and systematic approach to coaching.”

N. Ramachandran presented the awards to the following coaches at the ICL Squash Academy here on the sidelines of the three-day SRFI Coaching Conference: Hari Om Tripathi, B. Balamurugan, Sunil Verma, Dalip Tripathi, Gajendra Singh Rathore, Dhiraj Singh, Manan Mashruwala. The outstanding contribution award to refereeing in India in 2006 went to Yogendra Singh

Deccan Chronicle: Saurav comes of age

Cyrus Poncha and Saurav GhosalThe satisfaction of having landed a bronze medal at the Asian Games was palpable on Saurav Ghosal’s face. He has done India proud by winning the country’s lone squash medal at Doha. Saurav Ghosal was a picture of confidence when he received the Rs 2.5-lakh reward that was given by the ICL squash academy for his Asian Games achievement. Even for someone who is used to encomiums showered on him at this venue, Thursday’s celebration was different. The reason was obvious: Saurav has done something no Indian has achieved before.
Though he is elated with his show at Doha, Saurav says he could have even won the gold medal. “I am happy that I have returned home with the bronze medal. Ong Beng Hee is one of the best players in Asia and I am satisfied that I gave my best against him in the semifinal. To comeback well after dropping the first two games was a hugely satisfying experience. He was the better player on that day and his victory in the final put it beyond doubt where he stands in Asia”, he adds.

The journey from a diminutive spikehaired schoolboy to an Asian Games medallist has been eventful for Saurav. He acknowledged the role played by SRFI secretary N. Ramachandran and his coaches Cyrus Poncha and Major Maniam Saurav in shaping his career. The soft spoken Saurav conceded that he tried a little too hard in the quarterfinal against his good friend Ritwik Bhattacharya. “When the score was six-all in the third game I knew I was close and tried a few things and lost. During the break I told myself to enjoy the game and not put pressure on myself and the strategy paid off,” points out Saurav.

National coach Cyrus Poncha is thrilled by his charge’s feat. “Saurav has made rapid strides in the last few years and it is beginning to show. He is a true professional who does not complain and he is always ready for the hard yards.” Saurav had spent two gruelling weeks in England under the watchful eyes of Cyrus, a Dronacharya awardee, before the Doha Games. According to Cyrus, there is no noticeable weakness in Saurav’s game. The national champion, the coach says, will improve with more exposure against top players. Saurav’s speed on the court has drawn effusive praise from all quarters. His shot selection has also improved considerably and technically the youngster seems to have plugged all holes. Read more of this post

Scottish Junior Open

Scottish open squash Indian contingent 2006Every year promising junior squash players all over the world especially from India, Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan make their way to UK for the British and Scottish Junior Squash Open.  A few years ago, ICL Academy trainees Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa won the British Open Boys and Girls title, which signaled our emergence as a squash power on the junior circuit. While they have moved into the senior ranks and are currently climbing up the senior ladder, their mantle has been passed on to a number of promising juniors.

Last year at the Scottish Open, Anaka Alankamony won the girls under 13 title while Sachika Balvani (under 13), Surbhi Misra (under 17) and Abhishek Pradhan (under 13) finished as runners up. Click here for this years results Read more of this post

Saurav Ghosal Economic Times interview

ET:How did you feel on winning the bronze at Doha?
Saurav:To win a medal in any of the multinational, multievent games is an achievement. But more than that, I am happy to be the first Indian to win a Squash medal in the Asian Games.

How confident were you on winning a medal before the Games?
Well, I always wanted to win the Gold. I still believe that I have in me the capability to win the Gold.

Then, what went wrong?
Nothing really. The quarterfinal against my teammate Ritwik Bhatacharya was a close encounter. After that, I was sure of my medal. But against Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, the eventual winner, the better player won. Though I played well, he was stronger on that day. So, looking back, I guess nothing really wrong. I am ready to take all the positives from the games’ experience.

And what are the positives
Well, at the end of this year, I have moved up to the rank of 49 in the PSA (Professional Squash Association). This means that I gain direct entry to some of the major events. Breaking into the top 50 is one of the positives that has emerged. With the cash incentives given to me (The Tamil Nadu Government has given him Rs10 Lakhs and the ICL Squash Academy celebrated his achievement by rewarding him with Rs 2.5 lakhs) I can train better

Sportstar: Saurav getting better

The National champion and former World junior No. 1, Saurav Ghosal, won the first Asian Games medal, a bronze, for India in squash. The 20-year-old student of Leeds University, trained by coach Malcolm Willstrop, bounced back from a demoralising start in the semi-finals to tease the Malaysian, Ong Beng Hee, before bowing out in four games. Read more of this post

Saurav Ghosal felicitated by SRFI

Sourav Ghosal, the first Indian to win a bronze medal for squash in the recently held Asian Games at Doha, aims to better his performance by picking a gold in the next Asiad and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Speaking after his felicitation by the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) here Thursday, Ghosal said: ‘My next goal is to win a gold for my country in the next Asiad and the coming Commonwealth Games. I hope to work hard in the next two years and improve my ranking, so as to be among the top 30 players in the world.’

The player is currently ranked 49th in the world rankings. Member secretary, Sports Development Authority of the Tamil Nadu government, Apoorva handed a cheque for Rs.250,000 lakh to Ghosal on behalf of the federation. Ghosal was Tuesday honoured by the state government with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi presenting him a cheque for Rs. 1 million (Rs. 1,000,000).

‘I am enjoying my stay in England and my university is very supportive,’ Ghosal said, adding that more and more Indian youngsters needed to take up squash. ‘We will then get many more champs and win many more squash medals,’ he said.

Said Squash Rackets Federation of India consultant Major (Retd) S. Maniam, who coached Ghosal: ‘Saurav has had a remarkable career this far with a string of international titles and numerous awards. Having worked closely with him before, I certainly believe he has it in him to be a top 10 squash player in the near future.’

National squash coach Cyrus Poncha said: ‘When Saurav and his family moved to live here, they exhibited their commitment to squash and placed their faith in us at the ICL Squash Academy. Today we reap its reward.’