Hindu: Indian Squash comes of age

You can call it the luck of the draw, but the fact remains that Indian squash, still in its infancy in international arena, has managed to figure among the medals in the Asian Games for the first time. By beating compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya, Saurav Ghosal had entered the medal round, the semifinals of the men’s singles event. The 20-year-old former World No.1 junior did show his fighting qualities in a late spurt against the World No.18, Beng Hee Ong of Malaysia, but lacked the energy to cause a coup against the defending champion.

Coach Cyrus Poncha was thrilled with the boy’s performance and the first squash medal from the Asian Games. “Saurav played a brilliant aggressive game in the second-half. He used the drops to good effect against the former World No.7 and pushed the Malaysian into the front with some excellent length. He led 4-1 in the fourth game after winning the third, but could not sustain his good work. This medal is huge for him and the sport in the country. It was unfortunate that Saurav met Ritwik Bhattacharya in the earlier round,” said coach Poncha.

The coach also observed that such a morale-boosting play would help the lad, ranked 49 in the World, to develop further and break into the top 20 in the next few years. Saurav is pursuing an Economics and Management graduation course at Leeds and has been training with Malcolm Wilstrop for over a year at the Pontefract Squash Club.He aims to be in the top 10 in the World and win the Commonwealth Games gold in Delhi in 2010.

“Four years ago, Ritwik was very close to winning a medal when he stretched Azlan to five games,” recalled Poncha. Now that the breakthrough has been made with a bronze medal, better days are ahead for Indian squash.

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About Cyrus Poncha
I was born and lived in Bombay before moving to Chennai in 2001 to coach the Indian national squash team....what a journey its been!!

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