Doubles will be our focus for CWG

Indian squash is on an all-time high with as many as eight players in the top-100 of world rankings and national coach Cyrus Poncha feels the time is right for his talented wards to push for medals in the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The former national player said he was pleased with the team’s preparation for the CWG, but with the presence of top squash playing nations in Delhi and the fact that England and Australia have eight players ranked above the highest Indian, Saurav Ghosal at 28, a medal in singles will have to be the result of many upsets.

“Our national champion Joshna Chinappa is ranked 30 in the WISPA World Rankings but with 10 players from Commonwealth playing nations above her our focus will be in the doubles. Saurav (Ghosal) and Ritwik (Bhattacharya) won a silver medal at the World Doubles Championships in 2004. Last month, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal won gold in the International Doubles Championship in Manchester. Doubles is a great equalizer. We have as good a chance at a medal as any team. It’s a question of rising to the occasion. I believe our players will,” Poncha told TOI. Poncha, based at the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) in Chennai, said the big leap in the standards — as exemplified by Pallikal (women’s singles winner) and Ghosal (men’s singles semifinalist) in the Indian Challenger in Kolkata last week — was due to structured training both at ISA as well as camps abroad. “Our players have shown commitment, dedication and discipline. The fact that more players are committing full time to squash is a key factor,” he said.

The Squash Rackets Federation of India organized over 50 exposure trips since October 2008 and Poncha was happy with the Indian team’s good performances in PSA and WISPA events, the prominent winners being Ghosal, Harinderpal Singh Sandhu, Anaka Alankamony, Chinappa and Ravi Dixit.

Poncha, a Dronacharya award winner, made special mention of Chinappa and Pallikal, who he felt had matured into quality players. “They have reached their best ever ranking of 30 and 43, respectively. It is nice to know that they are looked as faces of Indian women’s squash and they have truly carried themselves as ambassadors of the sport. Both are young and have many more quality years left in them. In the next few years they are going to leapfrog in the rankings,” he said.

The coach also had kind words for the likes of former national champion Bhattacharya and current national champion Ghosal. “While Ritwik has had many good years behind him, Saurav is on his way up. He has progressed extremely well and we believe he will break into the top-20. Harinderpal and Siddharth Suchde have also shown tremendous improvement. Like Ghosal, they are young and hungry for results. This trio will lead us into the future,” he said.

Times Of India Bangalore;  Date: Apr 20, 2010
Shrivathsa Sridhar | TNN

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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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