Asian Games 2014: Grand welcome for Indian squash players
Chennai, Sep 29 (IANS) Four members of the Incheon Asian Games medal-winning Indian squash team -- Dipika Pallikal, Joshna Chinappa, Harinder Pal Sandhu and Aparajitha Balamurukan -- were accorded a rousing welcome on their arrival here in the wee hours of Monday.
They were accompanied by officials S. Maniam, national coach Cyrus Poncha, Bhuvaneswari and physio Arthi. The members were received by officials of the Squash Rackets Federation of India and Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, coaches of the Indian Squash Academy and a few trainees.
Families of the players too were part of the gathering at the airport. The team members were garlanded and bouquets were presented to each of them.
The Indians won four medals, including a gold, two silver and a bronze, to provide some historic moments for Indian squash in the Games.
Speaking of his experience, the member of the gold-medal winning men's squad, Harinder said: "I certainly played the best match of my career. Winning the gold was a dream come true. I had never played this opponent Iskandar Mohammed Azlan Bin (a former World No.9) before, but the coaches and Saurav (Ghosal) also gave me enough tips on how to handle him.
"I went on to the court relaxed and kept myself one step ahead of my rival at every turn. At the Asian Championship some time back, I had lost the first match and things fell apart. I knew if I win, I would have ensured that 50 percent of the task is done."
Harinder's win in the first singles followed by Ghosal's victory in the next match, paved the way for the gold medal in the team event.
Maniam said: "Overall, India played outstanding squash. As I look at it, this was a competition where five teams - India, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Pakistan and Kuwait - had equal chance of grabbing the gold.
"Such was the depth on view. Considering that, it was great effort from the Indian boys. Everybody has to be proud of them."
The rest of the team, including Ghosal, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Kush Kumar and Anaka Alankamony, left for their respective destinations by changing the flight at Hong Kong.