19th Asian Junior Championships, Kish Island (19-23 June’12)

A triumphant Indian contingent returned home with 2 Asian junior crowns after a successful 19th Asian Junior Squash Championship held at Kish Island, Iran.

Anaka Alankamony retained her girls u19 Asian Junior title while Kush Kumar wins his first Asian title. Both Anaka & Kush are trainees of the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai and students of S.S. N. College of Engineering and Seventh Day Adventist respectively. Unfortunately it was not to be a third title for India as unseeded Dev Vazirani from Mumbai fell at the final hurdle.

Anaka used her volleys & drops to great effect to keep her opponent Ka Po Ho at bay. With a 2-0 lead Anaka was in total control of the 3rd game leading 7-3, however Anaka became defensive and Ka Po took advantage of this to win the game. Anaka started with aggression in the fourth and ensured she took home the girls u19 gold 11-3, 11-5, 7-11, 11-4 (39min).

Kush Kumar then went on to beat Gurshan Singh from Malaysia in the boys u19 in a 63 min duel with swinging fortunes. Kush started off in style rushing off to a 4-1 lead however the steady Gursharan clawed his way back to win the opening game. The next 2 games were close until 5-all but in both games Gursharan was not able to handle Kush’s volley drops and steady play. Leading 2-1 Kush began to play defensive and lost the fourth game taking the match into the decider. A very close and tense game with players keeping the ball in play and going point for point until 9-all. A brilliant cross court volley drop and a straight forehand drive gave Kush the victory in the 5th game 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 7-11, 119-9 (63min)

Dev Vazirani’s giant killing run in the boys u13 ended against Pakistani Hammas Tara. A student of Bombay Scottish (Mahim), Dev gave it all he had but Hammas was stronger on the day. Dev lost in straight game 9-11, 9-11, 7-11 (35min)

This has certainly been a unique event for all of us. Due to religious requirements the men’s and women’s event were held in the same complex but in different courts making it the first time in the history of these championships where male coaches and managers were not allowed to witness female squash players in action. During the event the male coaches and managers had to rely on feedback from players who had to do a ‘runners job’.

“I am delighted we are going home with 2 gold medals, last year we won one” said National Coach Cyrus Poncha. This has been a brilliant event and I must thank all those in Iran Squash for a top class event”

The medal winners:

Gold Medal

  1. Anaka Alankamony (Girls under 19)
  2. Kush Kumar (Boys under 17)

Silver Medal

  1. Dev Vazirani (Boys under 13)

Bronze medal

  1. Ashita Bhengra (Girls under 13)
  2. Nikita Joshi (Girls under 13)
  3. Harshit Jawanda (Girls under 15)
  4. Robin Mann (Boys under 15)
  5. Vijay Kumar (Boys under 17)
  6. Mahesh Mangaonkar (Boys under 19)


  1. Cyrus Poncha
  2. Bhuvneshwari Kumari
  3. Hari Om Tripathi

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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