Hindustan Times interview

National coach Cyrus Poncha has been at the job for a while and he’s seen quite a bit. Especially the muck that flew around after he was conferred the Dronacharya Award last year. In an interview with HT at the PSA Otters Open, Poncha offers his side of the allegations and also touches upon other issues, including the preparation for the South Asian Games.
How did the Chennai camp for the South Asian games go? Things are pretty well. We have lots of player coming in. The competition is close, more so among junior boys. We’ve seen that in the Otters Open.
What are your expectations from the Games at Colombo? In women’s category, we’re definitely looking at winning the gold. In men’s, silver is a realistic target, with top Pakistani players present there. Read more of this post


Saurav in DNA:Among top 10 by 2010

He won the junior British Open (under-19) squash title at Sheffield in early 2004 — the first Indian to do so since the tournament’s inception in 1980. And within a few months was ranked the number one junior in the world. Life, thereafter, hasn’t been the same for Saurav Ghosal. Read more of this post

NDTV article on Saurav Ghosal

Saurav Ghosal has come as a breath of fresh air for Indian squash, and, along with Joshna Chinappa, he represents a bright new dawn for the sport in the country.

Nineteen-year-old Saurav Ghosal is now the Indian number two, was the first Indian to win a British Open juniors title and the first from the country to qualify for the main draw of the senior event.He also became the junior World No 1 in 2004. He is currently ranked at World No 61.
“Honestly, I’ve had probably the best junior career an Indian has ever had in the boys. Joshna and I have raised the bar for every junior in the country, and I am proud of that. In the seniors I’ve done reasonably well. I reached 61 in two years on the professional circuit. There is a bit of disappointment that I haven’t been able to crack into the top 50 yet. I think I am playing really well and can beat anyone in the 30 to 50 bracket on my day,” said Saurav.
Having started playing at age four, the five-foot-six pocket dynamo shifted base from his native Kolkata to Chennai, and then to Leeds, where he now goes to university. His size and frame belie his potential, but Saurav’s strength lies in his ability to dominate players with his whirlwind playing style. Read more of this post

Hindu article on Dipika Pallikal

Dipika Pallikal wins Asian SquashShe is just 14. Yet, she has scripted success in the realm of squash. Meet Dipika Pallikal. In Singapore, she indulged in some mixing-it-up squash, besides `playing to her strengths’, did her superstitious bit (having a friend present in every single match), and found herself heading home with the Asian Junior squash championship gold in the under-15 category.
For 14-year-old Dipika Pallikal, it was one of her biggest wins. “It was one of my best performances, and it was the first time that there was an under-15 category,” said the Lady Andal student. On the right track in emulating the likes of Joshna Chinappa and Vaidehi Reddy, Dipika is readying herself for the WISPA event in Hyderabad, where she will be taking part in the qualifiers. The Singapore experience should help her deal with a few things she needs to sort out. “I need to work on my lunges and my fitness in general,” she said. National coach Cyrus Poncha was more than impressed with the performance. “Indian squash, especially in the under-15 category, is looking up, and we are definitely the best in Asia in that category. The focus now is on the big tournaments, especially the British Open,” he said. Besides Dipika’s gold, Anwesha Reddy’s and Ravi Dixit’s bronze in the girls’ and boys’ under-15 category respectively, completed an impressive Indian tally. Read more of this post

Dronacharya award felicitation

Cyrus Poncha's Dronachary felicitationBeing felicitated by N Ramachandran, Secretary General, SRFI and Vice President of SDAT, W I Davaram

 Rediff acticle on Dronacharya facilitation 

“It was a matter of pride for the entire coaching community as well as the Squash Racquets Federation of India (SFRI) when 30-year-old squash coach Cyrus Poncha won this year’s Dronacharya award for his contribution to Indian squash as a coach. But all his achievements and the moment of glory turned sour when India’s number squash player Joshna Chinnappa wrote a letter to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs that she never trained under Poncha, and that he had misused her name to get the Dronacharya award.

In order to clear the name of the youngest recipients of the Dronacharya award, N Ramachandran, general secretary of SRFI said the allegations made by Joshna Chinnappa are absolutely ‘baseless and unfounded’.

“All the statements made by Joshna Chinnappa that she was never part of the SRFI coaching structure and had never trained under coach Poncha for any length of time are totally baseless and unfounded. Joshna had been training at the ICL-Squash Academy from August 2002 to January 2005 under national coach Poncha and consultant coach, Major S Manian. She had attended every SRFI camp under Poncha’s supervision,” Ramachandran said.

He further added that Joshna had signed the player’s commitment form and was very much a part of the group of players whom Poncha trained from August 2001 to 2004.

He then distributed copies of the letters written by Anjan Chinnappa (Joshna’s father) on December 18, 2000 and on January 27, 2001 to the SRFI, thanking the Federation for its support and the guidance of Poncha.

Joshna had also written a letter in May this year thanking the SRFI for its support and guidance.

In fact, in one of her earlier interviews to rediff.com, she acknowledged the guidance of Major Manian and Poncha in her career. Rediff interview 2003
‘I played my best squash at the British Open’
“How much did the presence of coaches Major Manian and Cyrus Poncha help your game?
A lot. My fitness has improved at least by eight per cent. I was not doing much physical work-outs till the coaches arrived. Mentally also, I became much stronger.

The Federation has forwarded all these letters as documentary evidence to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs to let the Ministry know that Poncha was a worthy winner of the Dronacharya Award.

Felicitating the winner, the chief guest, Walter I Dawaram, executive vice-chairman of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu said: “It cannot be denied that Poncha has produced 14 national and five international players at the squash academy here. He had a huge part to play in putting India on the world squash map.”

Saurav Ghosal, one of the most promising squash players in the country, also spoke at the function and said that he owed all his success to Poncha – who was not just his coach but a friend as well. Ghosal also added that if not for Poncha, he would not have reached where he is today.

Faced with such large amounts of evidence to the contrary, one cannot help but wonder what might have prompted Joshna to shoot off such a letter to the ministry.”

The following articles/ interviews prove that Joshna lied when she sent the letter to the government:

  • SRFI reacts strongly to Joshna’s false outburst & ISP incorrect statements SRFI sets the record straight on my Dronacharya award…SRFI, termed Chinappa’s allegations baseless claiming he had proof that she was coached by Poncha. As for ISP’s outbursts, Ramachandran said “I cannot react to statements by envious and jealous people”. He said “Chinappa must have been misled and misguided by a group of people in Mumbai.
  • Sify interview with Joshna: Joshna, a champion in waiting..You have trained under a succession of coaches. Who among them has contributed most to your success?There have been several coaches. But I reckon Cyrus Poncha and now, Maj Maniam (of Malaysia) have helped me a lot to become physically and mentally stronger
  • Hindu article on Joshna The first Indian to win the Asian Junior Squash title: Joshna Chinappa takes her sport very seriously indeed…Now, Maj (retd.) Maniam and Cyrus Poncha coach me and advise me on my fitness regimen too.”
  • The Hindu : A joy to behold on court: Thus the sacrifices seem in order like the near four hour grind daily at the SDAT-India Cements squash academy under the tutelage of Maj S. Maniam, consultant coach of the Asian Squash Federation, and Cyrus Poncha, national coach, sandwiched between her school hours.
  • Joshna runner up in Hongkong:It is undoubtedly an excellent show,” said National coach Cyrus Poncha. He felt that the kind of training she undergoes at the ICL academy should strengthen her resolve. Poncha said Joshna regularly spars with top junior boys and this, along with the encouraging show in Hong Kong, should augur well for her Oct 2004

Parsiana article 

Articles on Sachika and Alisha

Sachika Balvani began playing tennis at the age of five, after which she shifted to squash at the age of seven under the guidance of National coach Cyrus Poncha.

Small wonder eyes boy zone Alisha’s win at Hong Kong last year, in her first ever under-10 tournament, prompted Tushar and mother Jyoti to ask India coach Cyrus Poncha to oversee her progress.