|Junior boys On a see-saw Mukeshbabu Group ISP Satellite|
Mumbai squash is looking up. Ample evidence
of it could be had from the way juniors stole the show at the satellite
tournament organised by the Indian Squash Professionals and sponsored by
the Mukesh Babu Group. A top firm in stock broking and investment
counseling the fact that two juniors broke into the men semifinals speaks
for itself. The most heartening part was not only quality of the juniors
play but also their numbers. There was as many as six of them battling it
out. The intense rivalry saw Parth Doshi scoring over Avish
Jaiswal in the menís after being two
games down and Jaiswal warding off the determined challenge of Gaurav
Juneja in the semi-final and of Rohan Juneja in the final of the boys
Gaurav could well have
put it across Jaiswal as he was 2-1 up and led 9-4 in the fourth. Their
absorbing clash lasted two hours. So exhausted was Gaurav that he had
little choice but to concede his menís semi-final against Manish
Doshi had a more or
less similar misfortune. He was two games up before going down to Rohan
Juneja in the under 19 semi-final and games up before going down to Rohan
Juneja in the under 19 semi-final and had to play his menís semi-final
against Paul Ferreira soon after. Such rivalry is good for the players as
well as the game because it motivates them to run the extra mile and work
harder on their game. The tournament, carrying Rs. 1.25 lakhs in
prize-money attracted over 150 entries for the four events. Despite all
the ups and downs that caused tremendous excitement the eventual
champions, almost predictably, were Manish Choitrani in the menís,
National champion Mekhala Subedar who was a cut above the rest, in the
womenís and Avish Jaiswal in the under 19. The professionals event saw
Rajesh Verma lowering the colours of top-seeded Chandrakant Pawar but it
was not exactly a surprise as the much younger Verma was the fitter and
faster than Pawar.
The presence of
cricketer Salil Ankola and actress Anita Raj added a touch of glamour to
the prize-distribution function and dinner at the Haveli in Juhu.
|Suchde, Mathur parade their skills Pix Junior Championship|
An exclusive event for
junior is rare. That too carrying attractive scholarship. It was made
possible thanks to Pix Transmissions Ltd. who underwrote the Pix Junior
Championship to the tune of Rs. 1.25 lakhs. Out of the amount Rs. 55,000
went to the players.
Promoted by the
Professional Management Group, the tournament had six events, including
doubles. And provided a great opportunity to the youngsters to parade
their skills. Siddharth Suchde and Auloke Mathur, both barely 13, made the
most of it. While Suchde won the under-14 event and reached the semi-final
of the under16. Mathur was the runner up in the under-14 and semi-finalist
in the under16.
Mathur who took to the
game barely two years ago and is being guided by Cyrus Poncha was adjudged
the player of the tournament.
Supriya Balsekar was
another to create a fine impression. Barely 12, She stormed to the
under-19 girls final where of course Deepali Anvekar proved a little too
strong for her.
Avish Jaiswal had a close call against Parth Doshi in the semi-final before winning the under-19 title. Junaid Nathani won under-16 event and Karanpal Sethi, the under-12.
|Mekhla Subedar -fully focussed on squash|
looks like following in the footsteps of Misha Grewal. She beat Sohini
Kumari in the final. Sohini is the younger sister of Bhuwaneshwari Kumari,
who ruled womenís squash for over a decade in the eighties. For three
years Mekhla was runner-up to Misha, who has called it a day. Mekhla is a
product of the army courts. Daughter of Col. Subedar, now posted at
Deolali, she has had the advantage of practising with men. Though she has
played abroad in a few tournaments not much success has come her way. But
when it is realised that even Candy Bhuwaneshwari didnít win any foreign
title, this is not surprising. In a short while Mekhla has had the
guidance of coaches like Satinder Bajwa and other Indian coaches.
On court she is a picture of concentration. As Indian women players go she is quite mobile and has good stamina. Once she gets the exposure that Indian women have always lacked, Mekhla could make a mark. But the going is going will be tough as always. Misha Grewal had some sponsorship coming her way in Dubai but even then she could make no headway in the womenís ladder. She kept playing on the circuit and while doing that there was always a danger of de-training. Mekhla is not wanting in ambition and drive if one goes by her declaration that she wants to be among the top 20 in the world in two years time. Well itís not bad to have an ambition. Indian squash is lucky to have an Indian champion who aims high inspite of realising the odds stacked against her.