Saurav highest Indian Ever; Eight Indians ranked top 100

The top ranked Indians are:

PSA: Saurav Ghosal – 26; Siddharth Suchde – 81; Harinder Pal Sandhu – 94; Ritwik Bhattacharya – 139; Gaurav Nandrajog – 175; Naresh Kumar – 184; Ravi Dixit – 207; Ramit Tandon – 218; Abhishek Pradhan – 315; Sandeep Jangra – 342; Karan Malik – 354; Aditya Jagtap – 417; Vikas Jangra – 417.

WISPA: Joshna Chinppa – 28; Dipika  Pallikal – 40; Anaka Alankamony – 59; Aparajitha Balamurugan – 80; Anwesha Reddy – 88; Surbhi Misra – 104; Ankita Sharma – 169. Read more of this post

Advertisements

Asian Championships start today

The defending champion in both the men’s and women’s categories, Malaysia has received the top billing in the team event, while India is seeded third. The host will be served by Sourav Ghosal, Siddharth Suchde. Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Ritwik Bhattacharaya in the men’s event and by Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Anaka Alankamony and Surbhi Misra in the women’s section. Read more of this post

Doubles will be our focus for CWG

Indian squash is on an all-time high with as many as eight players in the top-100 of world rankings and national coach Cyrus Poncha feels the time is right for his talented wards to push for medals in the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Read more of this post

Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa retain National squash titles

Defending champion Joshna Chinappa defeated Dipika Pallikal 11-8, 11-7, 11-2 in just 23 minutes to win her eighth national title, at the Secunderabad Club

The 22-year-old reigning champion won a wonderful display of drive-ins from both flanks and complemented them with some delectable drops. Joshna said she was determined to win straight to prove a point and she had trained at the ICL Academy. “It is always a great feeling to be the National champion, though the first title when I was just 14 stands out as very special,” said a jubilant Joshna. “Every National is a different proposition and one needs to be consistent over the years to win these titles. I am happy that I am able to do that,” she said.

Title-holder Saurav Ghosal (Tamil Nadu) warded off a spirited challenge from Siddarth Suchde (Maharashtra) before winning his fourth successive crown 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4. It was a top-class match. Saurav came from abroad a few days before the nationals while Siddharth had trained for a month in Chennai and benefited by it. The last few games were well fought and it was the experience of Saurav that helped him prevail.  “I dedicate this win to my grandparents — Dr. S.B.N. Ghosal and Dina Ghosal,” an elated Ghosal said.

In the pro-category, the 23-year-old A. Parthiban defeated his former coach and 10-time champion B. Balamurugan 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 48 minutes to lift the title in his maiden appearance.

N. Ramachandran, President, Squash Rackets Federation of India, gave away the prizes.

Men: Saurav Ghosal (TN) bt Siddarth Suchde (Maha) 11-13, 11-8, 11-5, 11-4.

Women: Joshna Chinappa (TN) bt Dipika Pallikal (TN) 11-8, 11-7, 11-2.

Pro : A. Parthiban (TN) bt B. Balamurugan (TN) 12-10, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8.

56th ICL senior National squash championship: Semis

Men: Saurav Ghosal bt Harrinder Pal Singh 11-8, 11-4, 14-12; Siddharth Suchde bt Ritwik Bhattacharya 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-4.

Pro: A. Prathiban bt Rohit More 11-2, 11-7, 11-3; B. Bala Murugan bt Dalip Tripathi 11-7, 11-8, 11-7.

Women: Joshna Chinappa bt Anaka Alankamony 11-7, 11-6, 11-5; Dipika Pallikal bt Anwesha Reddy 11-6, 11-7, 11-8.

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

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)

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.

Indian team for world junior womens championship

Hoe Hin White Flower Ointment World junior women’s squash championship to be held in Hong Kong from August 1 to 11.
The Squash Rackets Federation of India announced the Indian contingent: Dipika Pallikal, V. Anwesha Reddy, Surbhi Misra and Harita Om Prakash. The coach-cum-manager will be Ms. Bhuvaneswari Kumari.

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.