South Asian Games – Double Gold

SAG - Team

Playing some outstanding squash the Indian men and women players covered themselves with glory with victory over Pakistan in both sections for the gold medals in the South Asian Games 2016.

With this the squash competition ended and for all the melancholy that engulfed the Indian camp after the individual competitions where the men had finished with just two bronze medals vanished as  things turned around for an historic finish. For the first time in the SAG, India was able to win the honours in both the men’s and women’s sections. In all, India finished with three gold medals overall out of the four at stake.

The man in focus today was undoubtedly Saurav Ghosal, who had to do the star act and the highly rated player showed his ability in no uncertain terms in sweeping aside Nasir Iqbal’s challenge in three straight games.  After the fall in the individual event, Saurav was doubly careful that a repeat should not come about.  Playing with great control over his drives and volleys, the Indian had the Pakistan opponent in knots before long.  Number three players were the next to come out as per the day’s order of play.  Ravi Dixit thus faced Danish Atlas Khan and even though he did well to take  one game could not sustain the pressure long. The Pakistan player overwhelmed him to queer the pitch.

With one match all and a deciding third next came Kush Kumar on view to face Farhan Zaman.  It was not an easy equation for India but Kush rose to the occasion splendidly.   Only in the third game did he struggle a bit, even trailed 7-9 but a fighter that he is, Kush clawed back and playing in the front court mostly put it across much to the jubilation of the Indian camp.

In the women’s section, again in an Indian-Pakistan affair,  Joshna Chinappa came on to tame Maria Toorpaki in four games.  After the eventful combat that the two had in the individual final earlier, Joshna appeared ready for the occasion and played with care. Though she suffered a momentary loss of touch, the Indian never let go the grip to make it 1-0.

Sixteen year old Sunayna Kuruvilla’s big moment came next.  Against an experienced campaigner Sammer Anjum it was not easy. Nerves told as Sunayna seemed to lose way early but one thing this junior knows abundantly was to fight.  She did just that, got her drives and cross court shots to make dents and the tussle went five games before Sunayna came up trumps and gave India the winning margin. Her famed cousin Dipika Karthik thus did not need to enter the court.

The results:

Men: India bt Pakistan 2-1 ( Saurav Ghosal  bt Nasir Iqbal 11-7 11-8 11-7 ; Ravi Dixit lost to Danish Atlast Khan 3-11, 8-11, 11-6, 6-11;  Kush Kumar bt  Farhan Zaman 11-3 11-8 12-10); Bangladesh and Sri Lanka win bronze medals.

Women: India  bt Pakistan 2-0( Joshana Chinappa bt Maria Toorpaki Wazir 11-8 4-11 11-5 11-9; Sunayna Kuruvilla bt  Sammer Anjum 10-12 11-7 11-7 8-11 11-6;  Dipika Karthik v Sadia Gul  not held)  Nepal and Sri Lanka win bronze medals.

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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