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.

“In the first two games my opponent was brilliant and playing to perfection. In the third and fourth games, I took calculated risks and it worked well. Thereafter, I could not sustain the momentum. But I lost to a better player,” said Saurav after going down 1-9, 2-9, 9-6, 4-9 in the semi-finals.

“In the third game my opponent’s backhand dominated. Down by four points in the fourth, I came under pressure, but I was the more experienced player and relied on that to get back into the game. “I rarely play in glass courts. I had to adjust my timing because the white ball is slower,” explained Ong Beng Hee.

Saurav had a great start to the competition, blowing away Armando Arnante and Kim Dong Woo in the first two rounds for the loss of just seven points in both the matches. In the quarterfinals, he beat compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya 9-4, 9-0, 6-9, 9-7. And by this time, Saurav showed that he was getting better, and getting ready to make his mark in the future.

Coach Cyrus Poncha, who had worked with Saurav at the India Cements Academy in Chennai, was quite pleased with the talented boy’s performance. He said that Saurav’s bronze-winning effort augured well for the sport in the country. “He is ranked No. 49 in the world now, and I expect him to move into the top 20 soon,” he said. “I am very happy to have won the bronze medal. It means a lot to me,” said Saurav, who won the British Open under-19 title in 2004. He also claimed the bronze medal at the 2004 SAF Games and stood fifth in the 2006 Asian Championship in Chinese Taipei.

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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