Kush wins first Indian medal at the World Junior Men’s C’ship, Namibia (10-15 Aug’14)

By becoming the first male player from India to reach the semi-final of a world championship, Kumar has carved a special place for himself in the country’s squash history. Kush Kumar’s good show was the high point of India’s performance in the individual phase of the WSF World Junior Individual championship in Namibia.

Consistency marked his performance from the second round (he had a bye in the first) and that saw him progress without hurdles. Seeded 3 / 4  Kumar’s best came in the quarterfinal against George Parker of England.  The way he negated his rival (seeded 5 /8) with his crisp drives and deep crosscourt shots not to mention the very tight drops, Kumar dominated right through.  But in the semi-finals the roles reversed with Diego Elias of Peru, the Championship favourite and top seed giving his rival little space to exploit.  Diego was very sharp, as national coach Cyrus Poncha was to describe and that meant Kumar was left with little ideas even if he fought gamely but in vain.

For Madhav Dhingra, it was a fair outing. He beat Nils Lindgren (Sweden) first and was even more impressive in dispatching Callum Lawton (Zimbabwe) before succumbing to the 13/16 seeded Youssef Soliman (Egypt) in third round. Youssef eventually lost in quarters. Overall  it was a good outing for Madhav.

On the other hand Vijay Kumar Meena  began confidently in his first match against  Ricardo Tuscano (Guatemala) but against an established player like Andres Felipe Herrera (Colombia) he let slip a winning chance after pushing his opponent to five games. Vijay should have won that match.

For 16-year old Velavan Senthilkumar, representing India for the first time at the Worlds, had a smart win in the first round against Mason Ripka (USA) and against Patrick Rooney (England) in the next he gave his all, even grabbed a game but fell in four tight games.

The lone girl in the Indian contingent Harshit Kaur Jawanda, the national U-19 champion and seeded 13/16 got a bye in the first round and did her cause good by winning the next round against Jessica  Davis of England. However, Harshit bowed out i the next round to to the second seed and eventual runner up Nouran Gohar of Egypt.

Results (Main Draw)

Round 1
Vijay Kumar Meena bt Ricardo Toscano11-8 11-4 11-5
Velavan Senthilkumar bt Mason Ripka11-3 11-3 11-6 0:22
Madhav Dhingra bt Nils Lindgren 11-1 11-3 11-4 0:17

Round 2
Andrés Felipe Herrera bt Vijay Kumar Meena 11-1 9-11 11-7 3-11 11-8 1:04
Kush Kumar [3/4] bt Luke Michael Mannion11-0 11-7 11-4
Patrick Rooney bt Velavan Senthilkumar 11-4 11-4 7-11 11-7 0:37
Madhav Dhingra bt Callum Lawton 11-7 11-6 11-2 0:16
Harshit Jawanda [13/16] Jessica Davis 11-8 11-6 11-7 0:27

Round 3
Kush Kumar [3/4] bt Edmon Lopez-Moller 11-6 11-4 11-8 0:37
Youssef Soliman [13/16] bt Madhav Dhingra 11-1 11-4 11-2 0:30
Nouran Gohar [2] bt Harshit Jawanda [13/16] 11-2 11-7 11-0

Round 4
Kush Kumar [3/4] Darren Chan Ti Luun 11-3 11-4 11-7 0:27

Quarter finals
Kush Kumar [3/4] bt George Parker [5/8] 11-6 11-8 11-8 0:40

Semi finals
Diego Elías [1] bt Kush Kumar [3/4] 11-5 11-7 11-4 0:42

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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