ToI article on Asian Games

India’s top two women squash players, world number 32 Dipika Pallikal and 33rd ranked Joshna Chinappa, have been seeded 5-8 and placed in the top half of the draw in the November 12-27 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Read more of this post

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Squash will be a team event at the Asian Games

Mr. Ramachandran, President Asian Squash Federation received a letter from the Director General – Olympic Council of Asia confirming that squash will be played at the next Asian games and for the 1st time there will also be a team event. Copy of the letter

Deccan Chronicle: Saurav comes of age

Cyrus Poncha and Saurav GhosalThe satisfaction of having landed a bronze medal at the Asian Games was palpable on Saurav Ghosal’s face. He has done India proud by winning the country’s lone squash medal at Doha. Saurav Ghosal was a picture of confidence when he received the Rs 2.5-lakh reward that was given by the ICL squash academy for his Asian Games achievement. Even for someone who is used to encomiums showered on him at this venue, Thursday’s celebration was different. The reason was obvious: Saurav has done something no Indian has achieved before.
Though he is elated with his show at Doha, Saurav says he could have even won the gold medal. “I am happy that I have returned home with the bronze medal. Ong Beng Hee is one of the best players in Asia and I am satisfied that I gave my best against him in the semifinal. To comeback well after dropping the first two games was a hugely satisfying experience. He was the better player on that day and his victory in the final put it beyond doubt where he stands in Asia”, he adds.

The journey from a diminutive spikehaired schoolboy to an Asian Games medallist has been eventful for Saurav. He acknowledged the role played by SRFI secretary N. Ramachandran and his coaches Cyrus Poncha and Major Maniam Saurav in shaping his career. The soft spoken Saurav conceded that he tried a little too hard in the quarterfinal against his good friend Ritwik Bhattacharya. “When the score was six-all in the third game I knew I was close and tried a few things and lost. During the break I told myself to enjoy the game and not put pressure on myself and the strategy paid off,” points out Saurav.

National coach Cyrus Poncha is thrilled by his charge’s feat. “Saurav has made rapid strides in the last few years and it is beginning to show. He is a true professional who does not complain and he is always ready for the hard yards.” Saurav had spent two gruelling weeks in England under the watchful eyes of Cyrus, a Dronacharya awardee, before the Doha Games. According to Cyrus, there is no noticeable weakness in Saurav’s game. The national champion, the coach says, will improve with more exposure against top players. Saurav’s speed on the court has drawn effusive praise from all quarters. His shot selection has also improved considerably and technically the youngster seems to have plugged all holes. Read more of this post

Saurav Ghosal Economic Times interview

ET:How did you feel on winning the bronze at Doha?
Saurav:To win a medal in any of the multinational, multievent games is an achievement. But more than that, I am happy to be the first Indian to win a Squash medal in the Asian Games.

How confident were you on winning a medal before the Games?
Well, I always wanted to win the Gold. I still believe that I have in me the capability to win the Gold.

Then, what went wrong?
Nothing really. The quarterfinal against my teammate Ritwik Bhatacharya was a close encounter. After that, I was sure of my medal. But against Malaysian Ong Beng Hee, the eventual winner, the better player won. Though I played well, he was stronger on that day. So, looking back, I guess nothing really wrong. I am ready to take all the positives from the games’ experience.

And what are the positives
Well, at the end of this year, I have moved up to the rank of 49 in the PSA (Professional Squash Association). This means that I gain direct entry to some of the major events. Breaking into the top 50 is one of the positives that has emerged. With the cash incentives given to me (The Tamil Nadu Government has given him Rs10 Lakhs and the ICL Squash Academy celebrated his achievement by rewarding him with Rs 2.5 lakhs) I can train better

Sportstar: Saurav getting better

The National champion and former World junior No. 1, Saurav Ghosal, won the first Asian Games medal, a bronze, for India in squash. The 20-year-old student of Leeds University, trained by coach Malcolm Willstrop, bounced back from a demoralising start in the semi-finals to tease the Malaysian, Ong Beng Hee, before bowing out in four games. Read more of this post

TN govt awards Krishnan Sasikiran, Anju Bobby George, Santi Soundararajan and Saurav Ghosal

An official release said Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M Karunanidhi would give cash awards to four sportspersons at the state secretariat on December 18. The awardees are Rs 20 lakh for chess Grand Master Sasikiran (gold – chess team),  Rs 15 lakh for Santi Soundararajan (silver – women’s 800 metres),  Rs 15 lakhs for Anju Bobby George (silver – long jump), Rs 10 lakh for Saurav Ghosal (bronze – squash)

Doha Diary 5

Double gold for Malaysia, Nicol defeated Rebecca who had upset her at the last games , Ong retained his title.

[1]Nicol David (MAS) bt [2] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) 9/0, 9/3, 9/3 (34m)
[2] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) bt [1] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Mas) 5/9, 9/1, 10/9, 9/5 (73m)

Hindu: Indian Squash comes of age

You can call it the luck of the draw, but the fact remains that Indian squash, still in its infancy in international arena, has managed to figure among the medals in the Asian Games for the first time. By beating compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya, Saurav Ghosal had entered the medal round, the semifinals of the men’s singles event. The 20-year-old former World No.1 junior did show his fighting qualities in a late spurt against the World No.18, Beng Hee Ong of Malaysia, but lacked the energy to cause a coup against the defending champion.

Coach Cyrus Poncha was thrilled with the boy’s performance and the first squash medal from the Asian Games. “Saurav played a brilliant aggressive game in the second-half. He used the drops to good effect against the former World No.7 and pushed the Malaysian into the front with some excellent length. He led 4-1 in the fourth game after winning the third, but could not sustain his good work. This medal is huge for him and the sport in the country. It was unfortunate that Saurav met Ritwik Bhattacharya in the earlier round,” said coach Poncha. Read more of this post

Leander Paes wins two golds in Tennis

Tennis doubles maestro Leander Paes won two golds at the Doha Asian Games, for Mens doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi (beat RATIWATANA S. / RATIWATANA S. of Thailand) and Mixed Doubles with Sania Mirza (beat IWABUCHI S. / MORIGAMI A. of Japan)

Doha Diary 4

Saurav Ghosal Asian Games, Doha bronze medal for squashDiminutive Saurav Ghosal had the crowd entertained with his delightful front game and his awesome retrieving skills. Beng Hee picked up almost all of Saurav’s attacking shots to the front and at the same time threw in a few of his. Saurav continued with the same sort of game in the third and slowly it was beginning to produce results. Beng Hee was either getting a little late to the ball or were tinning his returns. Saurav took a well deserve third. The fourth was looking good for Saurav as he raced to a 3-0 and 4-1 lead with yet again – delicate drop shots. Beng Hee decided that he should keep Saurav away from the front and went back to playing a lot more lobs as he did in the first two games. Rallies were now getting longer and Saurav’s legs getting wearier. Beng Hee finished of well against a fighting Saurav 9/1, 9/2, 6/9, 9/4 Read more of this post