India emerge Asian Junior Team Champs (HK, Feb 1-5)

da82b8e5-475b-4c0b-a5c4-c732fa32fccbIndian boys scripted a grand gold medal win in the Asian Junior Team Championship by beating Malaysia 2-0. This is the second time that India is winning this crown, the earlier being in 2011 in Colombo.Though in terms of seeding, India as top seed and Malaysia as second seed, it seemed on expected lines but the pressure of a title-match can always tilt the balance either way. But what helped India’s cause was the day’s order of play which saw the number one player Velavan Senthilkumar enter the arena. Fresh from his British Junior Open success, Velavan was in touch and the young Indian, easily the best from India in recent times, did not disappoint as he wore down the Malaysian Ong Sai Hun in straight games to give India a bright start. A bubbly character, Abhay Singh has earned the reputation of being a fighter. He displayed that in beating Darren Rahul Pragasam from a two games arrears and a match ball down situation. The gritty Indian symbolised the mood of the Indians by the win and ushering in the joyful moments. In the semi-final, India had beaten Hong Kong and in the league, which India topped, a key win was over Pakistan.

“It was brilliant stuff from the Indians,” said national coach Cyrus Poncha while prasing Velavan for his near flawless play in the final and Abhay for his gritty fight. The SRFI Patron Mr N. Ramachandran expressed happiness over the Indian show. “After the British Junior Open success and now the Asian championship, it is clear junior squash in the country is on a firm foundation, thanks to the structured training that was started more than a decade ago. My congratulations to the entire team for winning the Asian crown again. ” The girls side, weakened by the absence of established players was represented by Nikita Joshi, Aishwarya Bhattacharya, Vedika Arun and Sanya Vats. The inexperienced bunch did their best to finish sixth overall.


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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