Indian team heading for Manchester, 29-31 March 2010

As countries prepare for the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010, on March 29th – 31st a series of squash doubles matches will be taking place at the National Squash Centre in Manchester in preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The Indian contingent comprising Saurav Ghosal, Siddharth Suchde, Harinder Pal Singh, Ritwik Bhattacharya, Gaurav Nandrajog, Sandeep Jangra, Joshana Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal will be using the event to get some vital preparation before Delhi Commenwealth Games.

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TNSRA closed circuit squash – 6

Gaurav Nandrajog defeated Harinder Pal Singh to collect his third title on the trot in the TNSRA closed circuit squash event. Having won the fourth and fifth circuits earlier, Gaurav, a trainee at the ICL Academy, as is Harinder won in four games (11-7, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7) to take the sixth and final event in this circuit. Barring those brief mid-contest moments game where from a 9-9 position he won the second game before dropping the third, Gaurav never needed to fight hard and needed just 48 minutes to earn the victory.

TNSRA closed circuit squash

Gaurav Nandrajog picked up his second title in a row when he edged Harinder Pal Singh in five gruelling games on Saturday in the TNSRA closed circuit squash tournament.Gaurav won 5-11, 11-10 (2-0), 10-11 (0-2), 11-10 (6-4), 11-9, the match lasting 73 minutes. It was a tight contest and not until the final point was played was the victor clear. Harinder twice faltered at the threshold. First time he was on game ball in the second game. Then he spurned a ‘match ball’ moment in the fourth game. Gaurav showed his fighting qualities and steely nerves to claw back. The final game was also close but Gaurav was able to ensure victory. The sixth circuit in this TNSRA series will be played next week.

Semifinals: Harinder bt A. Parthiban 11-6, 11-7, 11-8; Gaurav bt Naresh Kumar 10-11 (1-3), 9-11, 11-2, 11-2, 11-10 (3-1).

5th ICL Chennai Open, 1st Round

ICL Academy’s Harinderpal Singh Sandhu avenged his defeat of Sunday at the 1st SPA Classic (a national event) when he defeated country mate Siddharth Suchde in a thrilling 5 set encounter. Exceptional retrieving from both players was the order of the day with Harinder coming from 4-7 down in the fifth with 3 amazing forehand kills from behind to win his first match against Siddharth.
An erratic Naresh made it into the Quarterfinals defeating qualifier Hitham Ashoush also in 5 games. Egyptians, Omar Tarek and Mohd Sayed created the upsets of the day defeating Jonas Laursen and Parth Sharma respectively. Top seeded Ritwik playing his first match in a few months convincingly defeated Gaurav is straight games.
[1] Ritwik Bhattacharya (IND) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (IND) 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (28m)

[Q] Mohd Sayed Mahmoud Aly (EGY) bt [7] Parth Sharma (IND) 11-3, 11-8, 3-11, 9-11, 11-7(40m)

[3] Dick Lau (HKG) bt Karim AGA Samy (EGY) 11- 6 , 11- 8 , 11- 6 ( 32m)

Omar Tarek Mahm Aly (EGY) bt [8] Jonas Laursen (DEN) 11- 4 , 11- 9, 11- 7 (20m)

[5] Naresh Kumar (IND) bt [Q] Hitham Ashoush (EGY) 11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 5-11, 11-2 (43m)

[4] Harinder Pal Sandhu (IND) bt Siddharth Suchde (IND) 11-2, 4-11, 11-7, 3-11, 11-9 (51m)

[6] Parthiban Ayappan (IND) bt [Q] Akshay Deepak (IND) 11-5, 11-4, 11-3 (12m)

[2] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) bt [Q] Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY) 11- 6, 11- 5, 11- 10(3 -1) ( 30m)

ICL Chennai Open PSA Squash

Ritwik Bhattacharya has been given the pride of place in seedings for the fifth ICL Chennai Open PSA Squash tournament to be held in Channai from Aug 15 to 18.
Four qualifiers, along with 12 players would make the main draw of 16 and the cut off range from 61 to 273 with Parth, Harinder, Gaurav, Siddharth, Parthiban and Naresh directly seeded in the main draw.  Mohd. Ali Anwar Reda (ranked 61), Dick Lau (HK-118), Jonas Laursen (Den-206), Omar Tarek Mahm Aly (Egy-249) and Karim A.G.A.Samy (Egy-273) would provide foreign flavour to the tournament.

SPA squash championship

Men’s (semifinals): Siddharth Suchde (Mum) bt Parth Sharma (Che) 11-6, 11-6, 11-1; Harinderpal Singh (Che) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (Del) 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8.
Professionals (semifinals): B. Balamurugan (Che) bt Rohit More 11-1, 11-6, 13-15, 11-5; Sachin Jadhav bt Sanjay Pawar 17-15, 11-9, 11-9.

New Indian Express article

The last five years have seen India make rapid progress in the international squash arena. Not only has the fortunes of the Indian squashers changed for the better, but also the Squash Racquet Federation of India has been successfully organising national as well as international tournaments. India has been able to produce top-notch players in Saurav Ghosal (PSA ranked 42), Ritwik Bhattacharya (PSA ranked 60), Joshna Chinappa (WISPA ranked 39) and Dipika Pallikal (WISPA ranked 68). Ritwik has six PSA titles to his name, while Saurav has two plus a bronze in Asian Games 2006 at Doha.

And the silver lining, accord ing to national coach Cyrus Poncha, is that most of them have quite a few years to go before they reach the peak age (24 to 27) of a squash player. Saurav and Joshna are 20, while Dipika is just 16. Besides, there is a crop of young back-up players like Harinder Pal Singh, Parth Sharma, Naresh Kumar, Parthiban Ayappan, Ramit Tandon, Paramit Singh, Karan Malik and Ravi Dixit who are waiting in the wings.

In the women’s segment, there is sufficient cushion to Joshna, Dipika, Surbhi Mishra and Anwesha Reddy, thanks mainly to the growing stature of junior players like Anaka Alankamony and Haritha Omprakash. ‘‘It’s not just one or two players hogging the limelight. There is enough depth, potential and quality in them. The gap between these players and the top two is not that yawning. This also ensures there is sufficient competition at the domestic level,” said the consultant coach of Squash Racquets Federation of India Major Maniam.

Another heartening aspect is that the Indian junior team, too, has been making its presence felt in the global stage.‘‘Both the junior boys and girls have been performing remarkably well. We are one of the top eight junior teams in the World and we hope to break into the top three sooner than later,” said Maniam. The lucrative part too has brightened for the squashers. In the last five years, the number of national and international tournaments has doubled, and so has the prize money.

‘‘Tournaments are so galore that players now have the problem of plenty, as to which tournament to go and which not to,” said Cyrus. Consequently, more players are pursuing the game as a viable profession, unlike in the past where the game was a platform for higher studies abroad. Moreover, the game has slowly but steadily expanded its base. ‘‘Players are sprouting from states like Rajasthan, Uttranchal, Haryana and Punjab. This shows that the game is reaching more states and people,” said Maniam. Cyrus seconds Maniam, ‘‘Earlier, there used to be hardly 10 players for the girl’s U-11 school tournaments. Now we get almost 30-40 players for such tournaments.” And the Central government rightly rewarded the game by including it in the priority list of sports.

According to the secretary general of SRFI N Ramachandran, it is a recognition that the Indian squash deserved. ‘‘This means that there will be more funding for players and better opportunities for the federation to improve the facilities of the state associations,” he said. Overall, there have been more ups than downs in the recent years. And it’s a fair bet that the coming years will see a further upswing in the nation’s squash fortunes.

Indian national squash finals

Men :Saurav Ghosal {TN} beat Siddharath Suchde {MAH}9-2 9-3 9-0 {40m}
Women : Joshna Chinappa {TN} beat Dipika Pallikal {TN}9-2 4-9 9-5 9-1 {34m}
Pro : Balamurugan {TN} beat Dalip Tripathi {WB}9-0 9-2 9-5 {26m}
Ovr 50 : B. I. Singh {ND} beat Vaman Apte {MAH}9-3 9-7 10-9
Ovr 40 : Rohit Thawani {MAH} beat Deepak Moolani {MAH}6-9 10-8 10-9 9-3
Ovr 35 : Niraj Shrgaonkar {MAH} beat Raja Parthasarathy {MAH}9-5 7-9 7-9 9-7 9-2 {63m}Playoffs
Gaurav Nandrajog {ND} beat Harinder Pal Singh {TN}8-10 9-1 9-7 5-9 9-4 {89m}
Naresh Kumar {TN} beat Parth Sharma {TN}9-5 3-9 9-0 10-8 {40m}
Supreet Singh {MAH} beat Ayappan Parthiban {TN}4-2 Retired

Anwesha Reddy {TN} beat Surbhi Mishra {RAJ}7-9 9-4 9-1 9-0
Harita Omprakash {TN} beat Anaka Alankamony {TN}10-8 9-6 9-6
Dheeya Somaiya {MP} beat Komal Sharma {TN}9-0 9-0 9-0
Sanjay Pawar {MAH} beat Kalimuthu {TN}9-5 9-0 9-1 {32m}
Vijay Jangra {RAJ} beat Vinodh Kumar {TN}9-1 9-6 9-2
Desappan {TN} beat Hari Om Tripathi {TN}9-7 8-10 9-3 9-5

National Squash Quarterfinals

Men: Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Supreet Singh (Mah) 9-0, 9-0, 9-2; Harinder Pal Singh (TN) bt Parth Sharma (TN) 6-9, 10-9, 10-8, 9-7 ; Siddharth Suchde (Mah) bt A. Parthiban (TN) 9-1, 9-3, 9-2; Gaurav Nandrajog (ND) bt Naresh Kumar (TN) 10- 9, 4-9, 9-3, 9-5.Women: Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt Dheeya Somaiya (MP) 9-0, 9-1, 9-0; Anwesha Reddy (TN) bt Komal Sharma (TN) 9-0, 9-0, 9-0; Dipika Pallikal (TN) bt Anaka Alankamony (TN) 9-0, 9-1, 9-1; Surbhi Misra (Raj) bt Harita Omprakash (TN) 9-0, 9-0, 9-0.

Professional: Balamurugan (TN) bt Vijay Jangra (Raj) 9-4, 9-1, 9-2; Kalimuthu (TN) bt Desappan (TN) 8-10, 9-5, 9-3, 9-1; Sanjay Pawar (Mah) bt Hari Om Tripathi (TN) 10-8, 9-3, 9-1; Dalip Tripathi (WB) bt Vinodh Kumar (TN) 9-1, 9-4, 9-2

Article in Hindu on the Squash Nationals

It was in the December of 2004 that Chennai last hosted the senior National squash championship – open and doubles – and the 55th edition, which gets underway at the ICL-TNSRA courts on Tuesday, comes at a time when the sport looks transformed with success stories. The Doha Asian Games last year brought India’s first squash medal in the form of Saurav Ghosal’s bronze and now with the Commonwealth Games ahead in New Delhi in 2010 the aspirations are for another medal in front of the home crowd.
“It is a realistic hope,” said N. Ramachandran, Secretary-General, Squash Rackets Federation of India. He attributes it to the systematic training programme that SRFI has been implementing ever since the emergence of the ICL academy here nearly a decade ago.Consistent good shows by Indian juniors in various competitions in Asia has evoked confidence in the squash fraternity, in particular the men who have been behind the Academy’s functioning, Maj. Maniam, SRFI’s consultant coach and Cyrus Poncha, the national coach, that “higher goals are achievable.”

On the eve of the national then Mr. Ramachandran said, “The top seven seeds in the open category are trainees of the ICL academy. There is prize money for the first time – Rs. 75,000 for the men’s winner and Rs. 30,000 for the women’s out of a total prize pool of over Rs. 6 lakhs.”It is not going to be a National where the focus will be on one or two individuals but one which will give an insight into the talent depth in the men’s and women’s sections,” he said.  On paper and in the absence of Ritwik Bhattacharya, who has opted out citing his recent knee surgery, defending champion Saurav Ghosal has the best chance of retaining the title. But, as Mr. Ramachandran put it, “It will not be a cakewalk. There are juniors like Parth Sharma, Naresh and Harinder Pal Singh ready to battle, not to mention Gaurav Nandrajog and Siddarth Suchde,” he said.

Similarly in the women’s section Joshna Chinappa looks set for her seventh title but Deepika Pallikal, Harita Omprakash, Anaka and Anwesha can run her close. The Open competition, the Masters championship and the professional championships will be held from July 17 to 21.The National doubles championship and the inter-State phase will be gone through from July 21 to 26.

The seedings: Men: 1. Saurav Ghosal, 2. Gaurav Nandrajog. Women: 1. Joshna Chinappa, 2. Dipika Pallikal. Professional: 1. Balamurugan 2. Dalip Tripathi. Over 35: 1. Niraj Shigaonkar, 2. Raja Parthasarathy. Over 40: 1. Rohit Thawani, 2. Chetan Ladiwala. Over 50 years: 1. B.I. Singh, 2. Vaman Apte.

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