By winning bronze at the World Junior Squash Championship, Kush Kumar has made history
- By becoming the first male squash player from India to reach the semifinal of a world championship, Kumar has created history.
By becoming the first male player from India to reach the semifinal of a world championship, Kush Kumar has carved a special place for himself in the country’s squash history. Kumar’s good show was the high point of India’s performance in the individual phase of the WSF World Junior Individual championship in Namibia.
Consistency marked his performance from the second round onwards (he had a bye in the first) and that saw him progress without hurdles. Seeded 3/4, Kumar’s best came in the quarterfinal against George Parker of England. The way he negated his rival (seeded 5/8) with his crisp drives and deep crosscourt shots, not to mention the very tight drops, made for a thoroughly dominating show.
In the semifinals though, the roles were reversed with Diego Elias of Peru, the Championship favourite and top seed giving his rival little space to exploit. Diego was very sharp, and that meant Kumar was left with little ideas even though he fought gamely but in vain.
For Madhav Dhingra, it was a fair outing. He beat Nils Lindgren (Sweden) first and was even more impressive in dispatching Callum Lawton (Zimbabwe) before succumbing to the 13/16 seeded Youssef Soliman (Egypt) in the third round. Youssef eventually lost in the quarters.
On the other hand, Vijay Kumar Meena began confidently in his first match against Ricardo Tuscano (Guatemala) but against an established player like Andres Felipe Herrera (Colombia) he let slip a winning chance after pushing his opponent to five games. Vijay should have won that match.
16-year-old Velavan Senthilkumar, representing India for the first time at the Worlds, had a smart win in the first round against Mason Ripka (USA). Against Patrick Rooney (England) in the next he gave his all and even grabbed a game, but fell in four tight games.
The lone girl in the Indian contingent Harshit Kaur Jawanda, the national U-19 champion and seeded 13/16, got a bye in the first round and did her cause good by winning the next round against Jessica Davis of England. However, Harshit bowed out in the next round to to the second seed and eventual runner up Nouran Gohar of Egypt.
Results (Main Draw)
Vijay Kumar Meena bt Ricardo Toscano11-8 11-4 11-5
Velavan Senthilkumar bt Mason Ripka11-3 11-3 11-6
Madhav Dhingra bt Nils Lindgren 11-1 11-3 11-4
Andrés Felipe Herrera bt Vijay Kumar Meena 11-1 9-11 11-7 3-11 11-8
Kush Kumar [3/4] bt Luke Michael Mannion11-0 11-7 11-4
Patrick Rooney bt Velavan Senthilkumar 11-4 11-4 7-11 11-7
Madhav Dhingra bt Callum Lawton 11-7 11-6 11-2
Harshit Jawanda [13/16] Jessica Davis 11-8 11-6 11-7
Kush Kumar [3/4] bt Edmon Lopez-Moller 11-6 11-4 11-8
Youssef Soliman [13/16] bt Madhav Dhingra 11-1 11-4 11-2
Nouran Gohar  bt Harshit Jawanda [13/16] 11-2 11-7 11-0
Kush Kumar [3/4] Darren Chan Ti Luun 11-3 11-4 11-7
Kush Kumar [3/4] bt George Parker [5/8] 11-6 11-8 11-8
Diego Elías  bt Kush Kumar [3/4] 11-5 11-7 11-4