New team set for a challenge
A set of new faces mostly, but bright talents will represent India in the WSF World Junior squash championship which will be hosted by the Dutch Squash Federation at Eindhoven in Netherlands from July 26 to August 4.
With a bunch of 11 players, six of them girls, India will be in full strength at this Championship which will witness team competition for girls and individual events for boys and girls. The individual competition will be held from July 26 to 30 and the team event from 31 July to 4 August.
The Indian squad comprises Adya Advani, Harshit Kaur Jawanda, Akanksha Salunkhe, Nikita Joshi (team and individual), Sunayna Kuruvilla, Jui Kalgutkar, Velavan Senthilkumar, Adhitya Raghavan, Sandeep Ramachandran, Vikas Mehra and Aishwarya Singh (all individual only). Officials accompanying the squad are national coach Cyrus Poncha, B. Balamurugan and Surbhi Mishra.
Players in good form heading into the World Juniors
India’s best show in this Championship was in 2009 in Chennai when the team consisting of Anwesha Reddy, Anaka Alankamony, Dipika Pallikal and Surbhi Mishra finished third. At the last championship, two years ago, the Indian girls had finished seventh overall. Considering that only Harshit has the experience of having played in the world championship, the side is short on experience but Poncha said there was depth in the talent overall and is confident that the girls will come up with an improved show.
Adya was the winner in the ISA junior open held in Chennai recently and this Delhi girl has in her to trouble the best. Harshit finished runner up in the senior nationals held in Thiruvananthapuram and winner Joshna Chinappa herself spoke highly of this reigning junior national champion. Akanksha is known for her steadiness while Nikita is a highly capable player.
In the individual phase much focus will be on the boys where Velavan Senthilkumar will be in focus. The ISA junior open winner is a much improved player of the ISA. Adhitya and Sandeep have showcased their fighting qualities. Overall each player seems to have a point to prove and that in a nutshell reflects the buoyancy in the squash scenario in the country.
The championship was originally to be held in Cairo in Egypt but had to be shifted. Commenting on the Dutch Federation’s gesture and thanking them, the WSF President Mr N. Ramachandran said “After the very unfortunate need to relocate the event, we were very grateful that our friends from Netherlands – who have great facilities and extensive event experience – were in a position to offer an option that allows the cream of young players from all over the world to contest their world titles as scheduled. While we very much hope to return to Egypt soon, for this year we thank our new hosts.”