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.

Sports star article on SRFI, ICL Squash Academy

The winners at the Chennai Nationals had at some point of time been, or continue to be part of the India Cements Academy. This is a tribute to the Academy’s systematic and scientific training. Ten years can be a short period in history. But for Indian squash much has happened during this time ever since the India Cements Limited Academy was established in Chennai in the late 1990s.

With the setting up of the Academy, one big dream of squash lovers was fulfilled then; now, like any businessman appreciating the returns on his huge investments, N. Ramachandran, the Executive Director of India Cements and Secretary-General of the Sq uash Rackets Federation of India, is a contented man. Especially after seeing the results of the National Championship and the National Doubles Championship, which concluded in Chennai recently. Tamil Nadu swept all the five titles at stake. And what is more, each of the winners had at some point of time been or continues to be part of the Academy. What more can the advocates of systematic and scientific training ask for? Tamil Nadu’s success has been overwhelming and its domination has been envied by others.

It is not that all the trainees at the India Cements Academy belong to Tamil Nadu. Some of them come from Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, and the shifting of their base has not posed a problem, for their schooling and board and lodge were easily worked out. Ultimately, the refrain is if Saurav Ghosal can come over from Kolkata and become a big success in Chennai, then the others too can do so. All this goes to show what can be achieved with organised training. The success of the India Cements Academy should pave the way for more such facilities in other parts of the country such as Ajmer, Indore, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, where squash talent traditionally surfaces. With squash getting increasingly accepted at the international level — it is one of the events in the Asian Games and in the next decade or so should enter the Olympics — the sport is bound to evoke greater interest.

Already the Government of India has responded positively to the recent achievements of the nation’s squash players, like Saurav Ghosal winning the bronze medal at the Doha Asian Games, by bringing the sport into the priority list. As a result, squash would command more government funds for players’ training and their foreign trips. However, Ramachandran is not particularly enamoured by this. ‘The Government funds are fine but we will always find our own resources,’ is his motto. He believes, the lesser the procedural hassles — the Government matters are always that — the better it is for both the officials and players to plan well ahead. And surely the SRFI supremo is looking ahead to India making a mark in squash at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010.

What inspires Ramachandran are the performances of Saurav Ghosal, who won his third National title, and Joshna Chinappa, who claimed her seventh title, and her firth in succession. Both the players also have decent world rankings — Saurav is ranked No. 42, while Joshna is 39. Besides, the bright potential of some of the young brigade cannot be discounted, especially Siddarth Suchde, a diligent player fresh from Harvard who is keen to hone his skills.

In the final of the Nationals, Suchde was laid low by Ghosal, but his performance clearly showed that he has the fire in his belly. The way Parth Sharma and Naresh Kumar, both under 20 years, have matured as a doubles pair is another big gain for Indian squash. The duo shocked Ghosal and Harinder Pal Singh for the title. Maj. S. Maniam, the Consultant Coach of SRFI, said at the valedictory function of the Nationals, “It is a good happening. We know we have an established and strong pair ready for the big challenge.” he said.

Joshna remains India’s best bet on the distaff side. She intends training under Malcolm Willstrop, who also coaches Saurav, and the chances are that she will go up in her rankings. Dipika Pallikal, who finished next best to Joshna, is trained by Mohamed Essam Hafizan of Egypt, a former top-30 player. Dipika is still in school and so has age on her side. Playing against a tough rival like Joshna keeps her motivated. A notch or two behind Dipika are Anwesha Reddy, Harita Omprakash, Anaka, Aparajitha, all in school but keen trainees and ready to excel. The Chennai Nationals will also be remembered for Balamurugan’s exploits. The man, who was adopted by the Academy and who rose to become a Level II coach, went on to win his tenth title (professional category) in a row.

Tamil Nadu wins mens doubles, team event

India squash winnersNaresh Kumar and Parth Sharma ousted the fancied Saurav Ghosal-Harinder Pal Sandhu combine (all TN) 10-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 in the final of the National Doubles Squash Championship. In the 3rd/4th place playoff, Vikram Malhotra and Niraj Shirgaokar (MAH) beat Vikas Jangra and Capt Shakti Singh (SSB) 7-11, 11-9, 11-10, 1-11, 11-9 in a close match.

Tamil Nadu `A` beat Tamil Nadu `B` 2-0 to win the men’s team event. Services lost to Delhi `A` 1-2 in the 3rd/4th place playoff. Tamil Nadu A beat Tamil Nadu B to also win the women’s team title

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

PSA, WISPA July world squash ranking

42 Saurav Ghosal
60 Ritwik Bhattacharya
163 Harinder Pal Sandhu
168 Naresh Kumar
182 Parthiban Ayappan
183 Parth Sharma
219 Gaurav Nandrajog
267 Siddharth Suchde

39 Joshna Chinappa
68 Dipika Pallikal
116 Surbhi Misra, Anwesha Reddy

5th ICL Chennai Open: Quarters

Top seed Saurav Ghoshal sailed smoothly as expected, and won a 35 minutes four setter against Naresh Kumar. Parth Sharma who inspite of his lead in the first set, could not sustain the performance and lost to Dick Lau(world #117). Gaurav Nandrajog displayed racquets skills but failed to make an impact against # 2 seed Wai Hang Wong of Hongkong. Like Parth, Gaurav lead in the first set but Wai Hong Wong took over soon. Egyptian player Muhammed El Shorbagy beat Niel Hitchens of England and goined the others in the semi finals.

Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Naresh Kumar (IND)11-5; 5-11; 11-4;11-6 ; 35 min; Muhammed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt Niel Hitchens (ENG) 9-11;11-5; 11-9;11-13;11-4; 52 min; Dick Lau (HKG) bt Parth Sharma (IND)5-11; 11-5; 11-4; 12-10; 38 min; Wai Hang Wong (HKG) bt Gaurav Nandrajog (IND) 5-11; 11-9; 11-5; 11-7; 33 min