Full of josh, eager to climb

Making quiet progress has its own recompense. Joshna Chinappa has made more news when she has not progressed half as well as she has in the last three months. She seems to have set her priorities right. A career high ranking of 35 on the WISPA charts has not satisfied the youngster.  She is striving for improvement and is training hard to achieve her primary objective of cracking the top-30 at the earliest.
To compete against the best in the world one has to crave for a stronger mental composition. “I have realised the importance of being mentally fit. I am working closely with a trainer from South Africa and I am already seeing the results. It has helped me in keeping my focus,” says Joshna. The national champion adds it is easy to concentrate on the game when abroad and she has never found any problems in travel.

“In a sense it is easy to stay disciplined when you are away from home. Not that I am a party animal but it is just training and back to hotel schedule when abroad while at home I tend to go out more with my friends,” she says.

One can sense a keen sense of responsibility in Joshna’s approach lately. A fitter look to go with a new hairdo is Joshna’s statement. “I have worked hard on my fitness over the last year and the hair cut was because I wanted to do something new for the new year and I decided to go with this style.” Her results on the court in the last two months clearly suggest her focus is on the game even though Joshna indulges in a fashion makeover from time to time.

“The last two tournaments have been fantastic. I reached the final of two high profile tournaments that pitchforked my ranking to 35. Eventually I did lose to the top-seed in both events but I achieved what I set out to do. I was pleased with the way my game worked, I have never felt better with my game,” notes Joshna.

Technically Joshna says there is not one specific area she is targeting to improve. “My game has fallen in place of late and I have to keep working all aspects of the game as competition gets intense from now.” Joshna’s fitness trainer Mathews is from South Africa and he had a crucial role to play in shaping the fitness of tennis ace Sania Mirza. Joshna notes her fitness has actually helped her take her game to the next level. “I am confident of keeping the ball in play for a longer duration now.

Previously I used to rush my strokes and keep hitting the tin but it is not the case now.” Finding time at home for globetrotter Joshna is a luxury. The next two weeks she will be based in Chennai before proceeding to Hong Kong for her next tournament. “I am playing only two to three days a week but train everyday. When in Chennai I train under Cyrus Poncha and Major Maniam and I work with Malcolm Wilstrop. It has been pretty hectic without a break but I am enjoying every minute of it.” With the Chennai Open all set to have a women’s event along with the men’s from this year (July), it gives Joshna a chance to display her prowess in front of her home crowd against a quality field for the first time. Joshna has learnt the knack of keeping things simple and is a much-improved athlete today. The icing on the cake will be a good show in Chennai that could also help her long time dream of cracking the top-30 of the world rankings. By V. BALAJI, DECCAN CHRONICLE, CHENNAI

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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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