Joshana Wins in KL

Joshna Chinappa became the first Indian woman to claim a WISPA title, when she defeated Malaysia’s Low Wee Wern 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 in the final of the NSC Super Satellite (No.3) squash tournament at the National Squash Centre, Kuala Lumpur, on Friday.

Joshna, who’s been training at the ICL Academy and at England, contested her third final of the season. The 22-year-old had earlier made it to the summit clashes in the tournaments at Vietnam and China.

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Squash catches ’em young!

There is innocence toddling in every inch of the ICL Squash Academy, now replete with the gentle bustle and bubbly chirps of 32 tots, who have enrolled for the summer camp.
Some might bloom, some might wither, but they have all made their first gentle strides into the world of squash.
For a whole lot of them, this is their first taste of squash. Neither as popular as cricket nor as glamorous as tennis, squash might not have swayed their fancy.
So the first shot of the course was to get them acquainted with the game. Chief coach Cyrus Poncha’s lecture on basic strokes in squash,which was followed by a video footage of the same, featuring SRFI consultant coach Major Maniam and World No. 1 player Nicol David. “Later, we demonstrated the shots on the court,” explained Poncha.
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Chennai To Host World Doubles Championships In December

The 2008 World International Doubles Squash Championships, which will be staged in India in December, will be the first international tournament to feature the new wider doubles court. The 4th staging of the Championships, which were inaugurated in 1997 in Hong Kong, will take place at the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai, from 15-20 December. Read more of this post

Mr. Kalmadi visits ICL Squash Academy

Mr. Kalmadi, IOA President visited the ICL Squash Academy and expressed his amazement at the facilities. “Great infrastructure. I am sure Ramachandranji will create many world champions,” he wrote in the visitors’ book there. He wanted N. Ramachandran, SRFI Secretary General to put up a proposal to have the portable court lying idle at the Academy to be taken to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games. “We can have it placed on Rajpath with the India Gate as back ground and conduct the squash final there”

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.

Chinese delegation visits ICL Squash Academy

As host of the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China has begun its preparatory work in the right earnest. A reflection of this was seen in the keenness shown in viewing and studying the squash facility in the city by a 12-member delegation from the Guangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (GAGOC) on Monday. “We are here basically to start a dialogue with the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) with regard to the technical expertise and assistance for the successful conduct of the squash event in the Asian Games,” the delegation head, Liang Yong, Deputy Director, Venues and Overlays Department of the GAGOC, said through an interpreter.
After an hour long meeting with the ASF officials – N. Ramachandran, President, Srivatsan Subramaniam, Secretary General and Maj. S. Maniam, Director (Coaching) – the delegation seemed satisfied and apparently impressed with the way the federation was functioning, as was seen from Yong’s remarks on their discussions. Ramachandran said the visitors had made detailed enquiries on the rules, the team composition and about the courts apart from seeking inputs for the conduct of the competition.

Joining the discussions from the SRFI were Rajiv Reddy and Ganapathy Subramaniam. Yong said that Chennai was the second stop for the delegation after New Delhi where they had gone to procure information on matters relating to kabaddi. “Our aim is to visit the various Asian federations in disciplines that will have competition in Guangzhou,” he said. “From Chennai, we are flying to UAE to meet the President of the Asian Chess Federation based in the Emirates (Al Ain),” he said. The delegation spent a good time at the ICL Academy Courts viewing the various facilities and also making enquiries about all of them. Ramachandran said that at the 2010 Asian Games squash would have team competition also in addition to open events.

Indian Express article on Harinder

This Harry wants to stop pottering around, now that his tricks have started to click. Chandigarh boy Harinder Pal Singh has no spells or charms to boast of, but the 18-year-old squash player currently figuring in India’s Top 5, and riding on a string of appearances in various finals on the national circuit, insists he’ll make do with his armoury of short-kills and high pace on the courts.Harinder made the recent finals at Otters Club in the city, taking a game off the immensely talented Siddharth Suchde before losing advantage and the title to his senior pro. But, nearing graduation from his own Hogwarts – the state-of-the-art ICL academy at Chennai, this teen from Chandigarh is aiming at bigger success in PSAs. A move down south five years ago from his laidback life in Punjab, is paying its first dividends with Harinder reaching a semifinal of a PSA event in Malaysia recently.

“It’s been a good year, though I’ve fallen ill frequently. But I got a few good results in the Junior Nationals and even in the men’s category at the senior nationals,” said Harinder, when in Mumbai for the Otters event. An aggressive player – with superior fitness – Harinder is known for his high-paced game. “Though I can improve my game, when opponents alter their pace,” he admits.

“He has notched some good wins when playing the international events,” said coach Cyrus Poncha, who has watched the Sardar develop from a diffident youngster to an assured performer on the courts. “He needs a good mixture between aggression and defense,” Poncha added. “My goal is to be in Top 100 as quickly as possible,” Harinder concluded.

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.

Deccan Herald article on Saurav Ghosal

Saurav Ghosal’s life has turned one full circle ever since he moved out of his home town Kolkata and joined the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai.For someone who picked up a racquet at the young age of nine, success came soon. His first major title was the German Open (U-17) in May 2002 and he won the Dutch Open two months later. However, the crowning glory came in the form of the British Open (U-19) title in 2004 and he thereby became the first Indian to claim the title ever since its inception in 1980.
Last week, he added another chapter to his fledgling career by winning the National championship (in Chennai) – his third victory in four years. “Going into the final, I was under a little pressure, considering the fact that I was defending my title. But I relish such challenges. After all, there is no fun without pressure,” said Ghosal, who was in Bangalore on a private visit last week.
Coached by retired Major Maniam and Cyrus Poncha while in Chennai, he currently trains under Malcolm Willstrop in Leeds and he thanks his father Prakash, who heads the Kolkata Racquet Club for having initiated him into the game. Much later, the move from Kolkata to the ICL academy in Chennai with help from India Cements executive director N Ramachandran proved to be a boon.
Ghosal has numerous firsts to his credit, the first Indian to be ranked junior World No one, the first to bag the junior National championship three years in a row and in December 2006, he won the country the first medal in squash in the Doha Asian Games.
The 20-year-old rates his Asian Games bronze medal with high regard and has his reason too. “I am proud of the fact that I could win the country the first medal in squash. Moreover, the Doha bronze earned squash a slot in the Government’s priority list,” recalls Ghosal, who beat compatriot Ritwik Bhattacharya en route to the last four stage before losing to Malaysia’s Ong Ben Hee in the semifinal. And he thinks his rivalry with Ritwik bodes well for the game. “The first time I watched him win the junior championship in Kolkata, I was just a kid. When I went on to beat him in the final of the National championship three years ago, it was a dream come true for me. Our rivalry is good for the game. You need someone to keep yourself on the toes always. Siddarth (whom he beat in the National final last week) is also proving to be a tough competitor.”
Pointing out his premature exit from the World junior championship in 2004 as one of the major disappointments of his career, Ghosal believes the game needs to be promoted more as he thinks it’s a sure bet for an Olympic medal. “We lost out for 2012. But we should make it at least for the 2016 edition,” he said. Despite being known for his swift court movement, Ghosal believes there are certain grey areas in his game which need improvement and he believes the stint with Willstrop would be handy here. “After training under him, I have improved my angular returns and forehands. I am hitting the ball harder now,” said Ghosal, who is enjoying a much needed break before he heads back to Leeds where he is pursuing his graduation his Economics and Management.
And as the current World number 42 gears up for a gruelling season which begins with the CAS International tournament in August in Islamabad, he has his priorities right. “Three years ago, I had set a target for myself – to get into the top 10 by the time the 2010 Commonwealth Games comes. The way I have been playing recently, I think I have come a long way in realising my goal.