Joshna makes history (Asian C’ship, Chennai 26-30 April)

11229d5b-7d16-4aa1-a9e9-54e12f0cc16a.jpgJoshna Chinappa made history by becoming the first Indian to win the Asian Individual Squash Champion. Saurav Ghosal became the first male player from India to make it to the final of the Asian Championship and Dipika Pallikal Karthik emulated the champion of yesteryear Misha Grewal by making it to the final. It all happened interestingly at the Express Avenue Mall in Chennai, which was the venue for the first time for an Asian Championship. Even though national coach Cyrus Poncha confessed that he dreamt of an Indian winning the coveted title, when it came true there was no stopping the abounding joy at the Mall.  With people from all walks of life watching the proceedings from the various floors and sidelines, the competition had a unique ambience in keeping with the organisers motto “to take the competition to the people.” The best available talent from Asia congregated though one missed the legendaryMalaysian Nicol David in the women’s section. Still with Max Lee and Annie Au there, there was expectations that it would be a close for these two Hong Kong leaders. Both were top seeds. While Lee kept his date with glory at the expense of Saurav Ghosal,  Annie Au became Dipika’s victim in the semi-final. A Joshna-Dipika final was just the script that the gathering had looked forward to and it was. Five tantalising games, a slip and fall of Dipika, a spate of ‘let’ and ‘no-let’ calls and five games thereafter Joshna emerged the victor amidst loud approbation from the appreciative spectators all around. With a host of sponsors and Reliance’s Jio taking up the title-sponsor, the championship this time was in every sense a sweeping success. The final scores: Men: Max Lee (HK) bt Saurav Ghosal 5-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-7; Women: Joshna Chinappa bt Dipika Pallikal Karthik 13-15, 12-10, 11-13, 11-4, 11-4.

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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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