India win Gold in men's and women's team squash in SAG 2016
Playing some outstanding squash the Indian men and women players won the gold medal with victories over Pakistan in the team event on Wednesday in the South Asian Games 2016.
With this, the squash competition ended and for all the melancholy that engulfed the Indian camp after the individual competitions- where the men had finished with just two bronze medals- vanished as things turned around as a historic finish.
For the first time in the SAG, India was able to win the honours in both the men’s and women’s sections. In all, India finished with three gold medals overall out of the four at stake.
Men’s team event
The man in focus today was Saurav Ghosal, who showed his ability in no uncertain terms by sweeping aside Nasir Iqbal’s challenge in three straight games.
Playing with great control over his drives and volleys, the Indian had the Pakistan opponent in knots before long. Number three players were the next to come out as per the day’s order of play.
Ravi Dixit thus faced Danish Atlas Khan and even though he did well to take one game, he could not sustain the pressure for long. The Pakistan player overwhelmed him to queer the pitch.
With one victory for each team, the competition was tied, and Kush Kumar had to face Farhan Zaman in the decider. It was not an easy equation for India, but Kush rose to the occasion splendidly. Only in the third game did he struggle a bit, even trailed 7-9, but clawed back and won the match 11-3, 11-8, 12-10 much to the jubilation of the Indian camp.
Women’s team event
In the women’s section, again an Indian-Pakistan affair, Joshna Chinappa defeated Maria Toorpaki in four games. After the eventful combat that the two had in the individual final earlier, Chinappa appeared ready for the occasion and played with care.
Though she suffered a momentary loss of touch, the Indian never lost the grip over her opponent and made it 1-0.
The sixteen-year-old Sunayna Kuruvilla’s big moment came next. Against an experienced campaigner, Sammer Anjum, it was not easy. She got her drives and cross court shots to make dents into the opponent’s game, as the tussle went on for five games before Sunayna came up victorious and gave India the winning margin. Her famed cousin Dipika Karthik thus did not need to enter the court.
Men: India beat Pakistan 2-1 (Saurav Ghosal bt Nasir Iqbal 11-7 11-8 11-7; Ravi Dixit lost to Danish Atlas Khan 3-11, 8-11, 11-6, 6-11; Kush Kumar bt Farhan Zaman 11-3 11-8 12-10); Bangladesh and Sri Lanka won bronze medals.
Women: India beat Pakistan 2-0 (Joshana Chinappa bt Maria Toorpaki Wazir 11-8 4-11 11-5 11-9; Sunayna Kuruvilla bt Sammer Anjum 10-12 11-7 11-7 8-11 11-6; Dipika Karthik v Sadia Gul not held); Nepal and Sri Lanka won bronze medals.