What's the story?
Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal, the country's premier squash stars, continued their dominating run at the domestic level claiming their 18th and 13th titles respectively at the 77th Senior National Squash Championship.
In case you didn't know
Squash as a sport has been growing in India for the last few years. The exceptional performances of Saurav Ghosal, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik in the international circuit and the emergence of bright young stars like Harinder Pal Sandhu, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Anaka Alankamony have given a big fillip to the game in India.
Although squash is not a part of the Olympic Games, the Indian squash players have been dishing up outstanding performances at the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and other international tour events.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik had scripted history by claiming the gold medal in the Women's doubles category. In the same year at the Asian Games, the men's team came up with a historic performance to claim the Gold medal with the women's team claiming a silver medal. In the individual events, Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal Karthik bagged a Silver and Bronze medal respectively to make it India's best ever haul at the Asian Games with 4 medals.
Although the Indian team could not replicate this performance at the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games, they still came up with creditable efforts. India bagged 2 silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, with a silver each in women's doubles and mixed doubles. At the Asian Games, India bagged 5 medals with a silver in women's team squash and 4 bronze medals (one in men's team and 3 in the individual category).
The Indian squash players have been performing consistently in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World tour with Saurav Ghosal (World No. 13) and Joshna Chinappa (World No. 12) the highest ranked players in their respective categories. Saurav Ghosal even reached the final of the recent Pittsburg Open.
Heart of the matter
The 77th Senior National Squash Championship was organised by the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) at the ISA courts in Chennai.
Joshna Chinappa underlined her supremacy in the domestic circuit by claiming her 18th women's national crown. Last year she had broken the record of 16 time national champion Bhuvneshwari Kumari when she had claimed the title in Pune.
Joshna, the top seed at the event, defeated Tanvi Khanna in the final with the scoreline reading 8-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-7. Although she lost the first game, she came back strongly to outplay her opponent in the remaining 3 games to bag the title. For the record, Joshna had won her first national title in 2000 and since then has only lost 2 matches at the national championship, both in the finals.
Saurav Ghosal also showed why he is still India's No.1 by claiming his 13th men's national crown. He totally dominated the young Abhishek Pradhan and went on to win in straight games 11-6, 11-5, 11-6.
Following his win, Saurav had this to say -
"Happy things went my way. A good session on the court and that helps as I look forward to some tough challenges in the pro-circuit ahead"
General S Paramesh, Commander, Indian Coast Guard (Eastern Region), an avid squash player himself who was the chief guest at the finals, along with the SRFI president Debendranath Sarangi gave away the trophies and prizes.
Although squash is a not part of the Olympic Games and with a couple of years still to go for the next Commonwealth and Asian Games, the Indian squash stars would be participating in the PSA World Tour with the Windy Citi Open at Chicago from 27th February the next big event. The Indian players would be hoping to continue with their good run in the circuit and we wish them the very best so that they continue to keep the Indian flag flying high.