The rise of squash in India
World Cup win helped cricket’s reach in India
25th June, 1983. A day that will forever be etched in the minds of Indians. A day that united every citizen of this country and believe that anything can be achieved with belief.
Yes. We are talking about the historic World Cup triumph by the Indian cricket team. The Kapil Dev led side outclassed the mighty West Indies team and prevented them from winning a hat trick of World Cups.
The win inspired millions of people in India and brought about a cricketing revolution in the country. Cricket has since spread its wings across the nation and is the most followed sport at the moment.
Squash is a rapidly developing sport in India and recent successes have only helped increase its popularity. It might not attain the cult status that cricket enjoys in the next few years, but consistent performances at the world stage (which includes winning a couple of major trophies) can catapult the sport into recognition.
Indian players’ achievements
The current crop of Indian players are doing an excellent job by giving the best players in the world a run for their money at premier events. The likes of Saurav Ghosal, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa are keeping the Indian flag flying high with their impressive performances.
Saurav, Mahesh and Harinder Pal are all in the Top 100 rankings, while Dipika and Joshna are sitting pretty in Top 25.
Ghosal has been a consistent performer at the Asian Games where he has won a medal in each of the three editions. The silver medal in the Asian Games last year was heartbreaking after he led by two games to go down in five in the final.
However, he ensured India went home with a gold from Incheon with a fine performance in the men's team event. Harinder Pal was instrumental in giving India the early lead in that match when he beat Mohammed Azlan Iskander in four games.
Mahesh is making rapid strides on the tour and he is the first Indian to win the IMET Open in Bratislava in 2013. He is currently ranked 46 in the world.
Dipika and Joshna have been the flagbearers for women's squash for a long time now. Their best result together was the gold medal winning effort in Glasgow last year. It was also India's first ever Commonwealth Games medal in the sport.
Dipika also won a bronze medal in singles at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. The Chennai girl also triumphed at the Winnipeg Winter Club Open earlier this year.
The youngest Indian women's national champion, Joshna has come a long way since her junior days. She overcame Sarah Jane Perry to win the Chennai Open in 2012 and won her maiden WSA title two years later by winning the Winnipeg Winter Open.
The sport is still in its nascent stages and will definitely see an upswing if Indian players go on win major tournaments. Kush Kumar is showing that he can compete with the best in the world. The 19-year-old is a definite prospect for India and will only improve with the support of his seniors and coaches.
With better infrastructure and constant guidance, the sky is the limit for Indian squash.