in Times of India : 15th April 2008
are rivals; they are friends. They are young and beautiful and are already
the queens in Indian squash. They are from Chennai but are already on
their way to becoming the country’s next sporting icons. Meet Joshna
Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal as they talk about life, sport and everything
they love in this all-girl talk for The Times of India.
life in Chennai
got my graduation certificate just three days ago and everyone’s been
asking me only thing: which college is crazy enough to give me a degree
(laughs aloud). I simply tell them: ‘now I'm beauty and brains put
together' (smiles). Since I'm hardly home, I call friends over. I love
spending time with my family, especially with my younger brother (Gaurav).
Chennai till the 19th of this month and all that I plan to do is chill out
with friends. Maybe, do a few modelling assignments.
parents struggled a lot initially to find sponsors. Whatever resources
they had were all spent towards my squash dreams. My brother was a
compromised child that way. But now, he's the priority. And, he orders me
around and gets whatever he wants when I'm traveling abroad. (smiles).
He's the big bully. He's got a very sharp tongue. He's the only one who
can put me in my place. Unlike my dad, my mom doesn't follow squash. And
just then, Mrs Chinnappa walks into the tastefully done living room and
interrupts the conversation: ‘You are playing some Liverpool tournament
next, right Josh?' That's enough to invite a roar of laughter from
everybody in the room. 'I'll tell Nicole (World No. 1 Nicole David of
Malaysia) that my mom called the British Open -- which is like tennis’
Wimbledon – a Liverpool tournament! How could you say something like
that mom?' (giggles all around).
youngest of three sisters, I'm the pampered kid in the family. We get
along like a house on fire. Divya (the eldest one) and Dia are both into
their books while I'm the sporty one.
mother always saw to it that my education never suffered. ‘What if you
get injured and cannot play? You will need education to support yourself,’
was something she always told me. But I've always lived on the edge as far
as education is concerned. I've never been the kind who'd prepare for
weeks before exams. I always studied eight hours before the paper because
I loved the thrill of finishing X lessons in Y amount of time. Also, I
studied only 60% of the lessons and whatever I studied would invariably
come in the exams. People may think I'm arrogant but that's how I am.
Getting A+ is not my priority. Squash is. Even though I'm an English
Literature graduate from Ethiraj College, I don't claim that my English is
and Sourav (Ghoshal) studied in the same school (Lady Andal), they were
aware of our training schedules. They've been very supportive all
throughout. I have my XII board exams coming up in October.
On the WISPA tour:
I think I was born to play this game. (Adds after a pause)... the girls
are friendly and I get along with most of them. Nicole and I get along
really well because we travel for the Asian events together. However,
there are a few girls who don't play the game in the true spirit. They
block you, abuse you on the court but I never give it back to them. I
simply approach the referee. I can be really mean, trust me (stares you in
the eye) but I don't wanna be. There have been times when I've had bruises
on my body after a match and then the same opponent has tried to be
friendly off-court. I don't relate to that because I think a lot of what
you are reflects on the court. You can't be so vastly different on and off
it. So, that way I'm a little selective about who I hang out with on the
circuit. And, I never party when I'm abroad, even if my friends do.
been instances when players have blocked me during a match but I haven't
encountered sledging on court so far.
I've become more disciplined after moving into my grandparent's house
(giggles). It's closer to the ICL academy where I train, so it's
convenient. At home, my parents don't tell me anything, I do whatever I
want. But at my grandparent's place, I have my meals on time and am
punctual for my practice too. I visit my parents during weekends and spoil
myself crazy. No training on weekends (giggles aloud). It's all about
hanging out with friends and indulging in all kinds of food, including
chocolates. I'm a chocaholic. I can't have one bar at a time so it's like
either 6-7 at a time or none. I also train in London under coach Malcolm
in Kuwait now and training with former pro Amir Wagih. He's like a father
figure to me there. There have been a lot of controversies around me in
recent times and he's stood by me through thick and thin.
like to think I'm good at whatever I do (giggles). Even though I took up
squash, I was pretty good at tennis and badminton too. After a tennis
match with a friend, I’m like ‘don't you think I'm too good’ (adds
giggling) and he has no choice but to say ‘yes Josh’ (laughs even
more). I’m very vivacious and chirpy, unlike my girlie gang.
just love shopping (giggles). Now that I have my own credit card, I think
I’ve become worse. (Joshna interrupts, saying) ...she would marry any
guy who would take care of her credit card bills and mobile expenses...
(laughs aloud, before asking Dipika) ‘so, how much was the mobile bill
this time, babe?’ ‘Don't' even ask’ is all Dipika says before
bursting into peels of laughter.
very religious. I pray before every match. And, I pray at the church,
temple and mosque. I wear a cross on my neck, this thread (pointing to the
thick red band on her right hand) is from the dargah and I keep packets of
vibhuti which I picked up from a temple.
On having each other for company on the Tour:
don't normally play the same tournaments and I'm much senior to her, so
I'm used to being on my own. But, whenever we are together we have a lot
of fun... (Dipika butts in ) ‘shopping. Remember, Josh how we shopped
like crazy in Malaysia last time’ (both laugh aloud).
On being fashion conscious:
into high-end designer wear. I swear by Abercrombie (pointing to her tee),
Topshop, Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel, Mango. I shopped like crazy when I was in
States last year. LA, NY have a great range of clothes. I like to wear all
colours from orange to pink. I do wear Indian clothes on special occasions
like festivals and weddings, but I’m home in my denims. I think I’m
gonna get married in jeans because the only time I wore a sari, I ended up
looking like Chameli (laughs out loud, adding) as it was red and blue. I'm
not too much of a jewellery person though.
very conscious of what I wear on court. I love (Maria) Sharapova and Ana (Ivanovic).
For me, it's important that I look good on court because I don't feel
comfortable otherwise. I swear by Forever 21. I love to shop in America
and Australia. People say Paris has great stuff but I didn't quite like
anything there. Maybe, I went to the wrong places.
can see I love jewellery (pointing to the four studs on the top of her ear
and the beautiful green jadau danglers which she picked from Ajmer). ‘Hey
you forgot about the anklet,’ adds Joshna teasingly. I love wearing
Indian clothes. I wear them for the monthly prayer services we have at
On the craziest thing they've done:
got my belly pierced after I lost a match. I wanted to feel some pain and
so got it done. Once I got my eyebrow pierced too. I also got the Smoking
Devil tattoo on my back.
the moment everything around me is pink. I've painted my room pink. I'm
picking up only pink outfits these days. And, I recently bought this
really expensive camera just because it was pink.
can watch anything from English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The last two
with sub-titles though. Actually, I watch English flicks with sub-titles
like Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Heroes. I watched OC but it got very
boring in the fourth season.
best friend is part of a band called Substance. They are into rock music
and although they are all my age, they seem to be doing pretty well. I
like their work.
On modeling/ acting offers
I did a
couple of shoots for my sponsors but otherwise movies and modelling is a
strict no no.
got an offer to act in a Malayalam film but I turned it down. I also got
an offer to star opposite Madhavan. I really wanted to do the film, but my
dad refused. But if I get a chance to work with Aamir Khan or Hrithik
Roshan I'd love to do it (giggles).
loses in final
Article in The Times of India, March
KUALA LUMPUR, March 26: Joshna
Chinappa's agonising wait for her maiden WISPA title continued as the Indian
number one went down in straight games to top seed Jaclyn Hawkes of New
Zealand in the final of the NSC Star Series squash tournament here on
The reigning national champion lost 1-9 2-9 8-10 in a 30-minute clash to
lose her second successive final.
Sixth seeded Joshna, who was blown away in the opening two games, tried to
claw her way back in the third game but Hawkes weathered the late fightback
by the Indian.
The loss was yet another heartbreak for Joshna, who had lost in the finals
of Vietnam Open a fortnight ago.
For Hawkes, the win here has given the Kiwi her second WISPA title in three
'priority', SRFI sticks to old ways
Article in Hindustan Times
By Ajai Masand, New Delhi, March 24, 2008
THE SQUASH Racquet Federation of India (SRFI)
is yet to wake up to the fact that squash has become a 'priority' sport
in the country. In yet another example of their arbitrary style of
functioning, all norms of trials and selection were thrown to the wind
to accommodate certain players so that they could participate in the
Qatar Junior Open from March 14 to 18.
All four players in
the U-15 team — Sajid Hussain, Roshan Kanna, Deepak Mishra and Kush
Kumar — participated in the tournament despite the fact that there are
more than a dozen better players in the country. National coach Cyrus
Poncha, when contacted said, it was an invitational tournament and
individual players foot their own bill. "There was no need for
trials or selection as it was an invitational tournament. The players
who wanted to participate approached us and we simply assisted
them," said Poncha. "There wasn't any team event in the
championships," he added. But contrary to Poncha's comments, India
also participated in the team category where it finished fifth, higher
only to Qatar who finished last.
Also, the country's
top age group players didn't even have an idea about the dates of the
tournament and were not apprised by the national coach. Surprisingly,
exactly four players 'applied' and all of them were automatically
selected to represent the country. What also defies logic is the fact
that Pakistan sent its best juniors like Farhan Zaman and Nasir Iqbal
among others and they won all the four individual age-group titles in
the Under-19, U-17, U-15 and U-13 categories as also the team
championships. In fact, the Indian team lost 3-0 to Pakistan in the U-15
category with Sajid being thrashed by Pak's Nasir Iqbal 9-0, 9-0, 9-0.
The irony doesn't end
here. Sajid was India's 'top seed' for the Qatar event. But back home in
India, he was a reserve in the Delhi inter-state u-15 team in 2007 and
lost in the third round at the junior nationals in Ajmer. If the SRFI
says it didn't select the team, then who gave Sajid the top seeding?
In the individual
championships, he finished a poor 10th out of 12 competitors, while
Roshan Kanna, the national u-11 runner-up, came 7th. India can boast of
a strong field in the u-15 category, with the likes of national champion
Mahesh Mangonkar, runner-up Abhishek Pradhan, Akash Bornwankar (4th
position) and the likes and still they chose Sajid Hussain and Roshan
guidelines say: "For proposal at 'no cost to government', the
selection procedures as laid down in the guidelines must be
followed." In this case, probably all norms seems to have been
Article in Hindustan times, Mumbai, Saturday, March 15, 2008
By Ajai Masand, New Delhi, March 14
SRFI bars players,
parents from going public with their grievances
SMARTING FROM the recent
furore over the omission of British Open junior champion Dipika Pallikal for
the Asian championship, the Squash Racquet Federation of India (SRFI) has
issued a gag order on players, warning them of stringent action if they air
their grievances in the media.
In a letter to all
affiliated units, associate members, clubs and colleges, the SRFI has issued
an Indian Hockey Federation-style order; a copy of which is with Hindustan
Times, in which it says that the federation’s disciplinary committee would
take action as it deems fit against the ‘erring’ players.
The letter, signed by
SRFI Secretary General N Ramachandran, literally questions the fundamental
rights of a player / official to air his/her grievances.
It reads: “We wish to
bring to your notice that in the recent past we have had several instances
of parents / coaches / players writing letters to the Ministry of Youth
Affairs and Sports to deliberately discredit the functioning of the
federation on various issues. In
some cases, articles criticizing the functioning have been channeled through
the Government of India observer (Brigadier Raj Manchanda).”
Manchanda, reacting to
the comments, said he was aware of a letter circulated to affiliated units
and said it infringed on the fundamental right to speech.
“ If they (SRFI) are
not giving any clarification on issues of team selection, holding of camps
and other related issues, that’s just being nasty. What recourse am I left
with if they don’t want to call me during team selection and other
important meetings? I have to go directly to the Ministry,” he said.
The letter warns: “The
president/secretary-general are authorized to take disciplinary action on a
player/players/associations who indulge in any undersirable activity which
will bring discredit/ affect the functioning of the federatin…There have
been instances where parents have directly approached the electronic and
print media with false and incorrect information to deliberately discredit
the functioning of the federation. Such actions are against the rules and
regulations of federation.”
The SRFI has been in the
midst of controversy with litigation being filed against them in the Delhi
High Court questioning why Pallikal, the second- ranked squash player in the
country, and Sandeep Jhangra, were dropped from the Asian Championships
A bigger controversy
involves whether the 2006 Doha Asian Games bronze medal, clinched by Saurav
Ghosal, was fixed.
The latest development
comes at a time when Andrew Shelly, the Women’s International Squash
Players Association (WISPA) chief executive, was reportedly meeting
Ramachandran in Delhi.
All efforts to contact
Ramachandran were in vain, while national coach Cyrus Poncha said it would
be “Pretty of me if I replied to such queries.”
Chief consultant coach S.
Maniam disconnected his phone.
Questioned on the order,
I Srinivas, Joint Secretary of the Sports Ministry, said that fedrations
were self-regulatory bodies and framed their rules, “but if there are
serious issues with players/parents, there was no restriction on them coming
directly to the ministry ir going to the Indian Olympic Association.”
A matter of squashing the
players fundamental rights.
claims French Junior title
Article in Times of India, Mumbai, 19th
Pradeep Vijayakar | TNN
Mumbai: Mumbai lad Aditya Jagtap added to his growing reputation in junior
international squash when winning the under-17 title in the French Junior
Tournament, a Super Series tournament in the European Circuit, which ended
on Saturday in Marseille.
According to his father
Ravi, Aditya beat Lucas Serme of France 9-10, 10-8, 9-4, 9-1 in the final.
In the semifinal Aditya beat Demont Geoffrey also from France 10-8, 9-2,
This was his third victory in the European Circuit Super Series tournament.
He had already won Nordic Jr Open in 2006 and German Jr Open in 2007. He was
also runner-up in Nordic Junior Open and Belgian Jr Open in 2007. This
victory gives Aditya, who studies in Bombay Scottish, the No 2 ranking in
European Squash Federation lists.
at the British Junior Open 2008 were not truly appreciated. Seeded 9/16 he
shocked No 2 seed and Pakistan U-17 National Champion Farhan Zaman before
meeting the eventual champ, Karmin Abdel Awad barely six hours later. Aditya
and Gawad from Egypt played for 83 minutes and Awad won 3-9, 9-4, 7-9, 9-2,
9-7.The win over Farhan was the the biggest win of Aditya’s career. Aditya
secured 7th position in the World’s most prestigious junior squash
Joshna concedes semis tie
Article in Times of India, Mumbai 19th Feb
Joshna Chinappa conceded her semifinal to Rebecca Chiu 9-0, 9-2 in the Asian
Squash Championship in Kuwait last week. Malaysia scored a double by winning
both men’s and women’s events. No 1 seed Nicol David beat Hong Kong’s
Chiu 9-0, 9-2, 9-0 for the women’s title. Aslan Iskander beat Ong Beng Hee
5-9, 8-10, 9-5, 9-0, 9-7 in an all-Malaysian men’s final.
charges take sheen out of India’s Asiad bronzedd
Article in Hindustan Times, Mumbai, February 15, 2008
It was almost as if this script was written
with India in mind. And, perhaps it was.
In December 2006, India won a rare bronze medal for squash in the last Asian
Games at Doha. But, in an equally rare circumstance and one that is
peculiar, India knew they were assured of a bronze even before the
just two players of every nationality participating in the Games, it was
strange (at the very least) how the two Indian seeded players were clubbed
in the lower half of the draw, while the two Pakistani seeds — Mansoor
Zaman and Aamir Atlas — came together in the upper half.)
How? Well, the quarterfinal draw saw
Indians Ritwick Bhattacharya and Saurav Ghosal pitted against each other in
the lower half.
One of them would naturally go through to the semifinal and
in the Asian Games, if you reach the last four, you are assured of at least
Two things must be noted here. First, only two players per country are
allowed. And if both reach the quarterfinal, then there are written
guidelines that are generally followed. According to the Asian Squash
Federation (ASF) rulebook for events like the Asian Games: “It is
customary to ensure that wherever possible players of the same nationality
do not meet each other in the first round and are preferably separated into
the top and bottom halves of the draw.”
With just two players of every nationality
participating in the Games, it was strange (at the very least) how the two
Indian seeded players were clubbed in the lower half of the draw, while the
two Pakistani seeds — Mansoor Zaman and Aamir Atlas — came together in
the upper half.
It also was extremely convenient (or
lucky), that with players from 15 Asian countries, ranging from Jordan to
the Philippines in a draw of 32, only Indian and Pakistani players were
clubbed in the same sides.
Now who made the Asian Games draw and
On November 28, India’s national coach,
Cyrus Poncha, announced the draw in Chennai in the presence of the ASF
president and Squash Racquet Federation of India (SRFI) secretary, N
Ramachandran. India’s national consultant coach S Maniam (also Ghoshal’s
coach) set the seedings, while Fahim Gul (the Pakistani national coach) and
Tony Choi of the Malaysian federation were the other members of the draw
The Indian government appointed an observer for squash, Brigadier Raj
Manchanda - a six-time national champion himself – who looked into the
matter and his remarks in his final report to the Ministry (a copy of which
is with the Hindustan Times) make for interesting reading. “At the Asian
Games 2006, we had the distinction of getting the bronze. This would have
been indeed a very commendable achievement in the face of formidable players
from Malaysia and Pakistan. However, our players did not have to play them
till the semifinals; they played each other in the quarterfinal (second
round), which ensured a place for an Indian player in the semifinal and thus
a bronze medal. The draws were made by the SRFI-run ASF and credit goes to
them for making a draw like that…”
He continued, “… it would, however,
have been much more satisfying if the bronze had been won with our two top
players in different halves of the draw - as is done in all individual games
where there are only two participants per country - rather than clubbing
them in the same half against each other in the quarterfinal which ensured a
At the Asian Championships held in Taiwan
in February 2006, the PSA (Professional Squash Association)/WISPA (Women’s
International Squash Professional Association) rankings were used to make
the draw, which is the norm. Four Pakistanis made the quarters but did not
play each other till the semifinals. Both Bhattacharya (5) and Ghoshal (6)
lost to Pakistan’s Mansoor Zaman (4) and Shahid Zaman (3) respectively.
Thus, no Indian made the semifinals.
At the Asian Games, the PSA/WISPA ranking
wasn’t used. This only happens when the rankings of players have not been
documented or there is a discrepancy on their current form. A majority of
those who played the Asian Championships and the Asian Games were common, so
this was not the case here.
Ramachandran could not be contacted despite repeated attempts over several
days to seek clarity on the matter. But all of what we have stated here is
documented. India winning medals in multidisciplinary events is rare. So
they are extremely lucky that at least this one was ensured.
Scanned Article of Hindustan
Ghosal, Joshna advance; Ritwik bows out of Asian C'ship
Article in Hindustan Times, Mumbai, Kuwait, February 14, 2008
Ghosal and Siddharth Suchde were the only Indians left in the men's
singles event after two of their compatriots, including former national
champion Ritwik Bhattacharya, crashed out in the second round of the Asian
Squash Championships here.
the women, national champion Joshna Chinappa and fellow Indian Anwesha
Reddy also moved into the second round.
advanced to the third round of the prestigious tournament after beating
Kuwaiti Nasser Al Rashed 9-3 9-1 9-2 in the opening round and another
local hope Ali B Al-Ramezi 9-2 9-2 9-2 in the second round yesterday.
reigning national champion will now take on Hong Kong's Max Lee in the
meanwhile, first got the better of Iranian Mahd Reza Sadeghpour 9-6 9-5
9-1 in a 44-minute contest before defeating Taipei's Huang Cheng Yao in
the second round.
Ritwik and Naresh Kumar crashed out in the second round. Ritwik breezed
past Kuwaiti Shallan Ahmed 9-7 9-3 9-1 in merely 19 minutes before Kuwaiti
Mohd Y Hajeyah tamed the Indian 9-4 3-9 9-5 6-9 10-8 in a 93-minute
suffered a similar fate. After a comfortable 9-0 9-3 9-5 win over Sri
Lankan Aruna Hewage, he was outplayed 1-9 4-9 1-9 by Hong Kong's Wong Wai
the women's section, where India is without British Junior Open champion
Dipika Pallikal, who was omitted from the team for not attending a
mandatory camp, both Joshna and Anwesha moved into the second round.
thrashed China's Wu Zhen Zhen 9-0 9-4 9-1 in just 17 minutes to set up a
clash with Pakistan's Maria Toor, while Anwesh defeated Taipei's Hsieh Ssu
Han 9-1 9-0 9-1 and will now be up against Malaysian Sharon Wee.
Om Prakash and Surabhi Misra, however, crashed out in the opening round.
Harita lost Japan's Chnatsu Matsui 4-9 0-9 3-9, Surbhi went down to Hong
Kong's Christina Mak 0-9 6-9 7-9.
Rd 1: Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Nasser Al Rashed (Kuw) 9-3, 9-1, 9-2;
Rd 2: Saurav Ghosal (Ind) bt Ali B Al-Ramezi (Kuw) 9-2, 9-2, 9-2;
Rd 1: Siddharth Suchde (Ind) bt Mahd Reza Sadegh-Pour (Ira) 9-6, 9-5, 9-1;
Rd 1: Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind) bt Shallan Ahmed (Kuw) 9-7, 9-3, 9-1;
Rd 2: Mohd Y Hajeyah (Kuw) bt Ritwik Bhattacharya (Ind) 9-4, 3-9, 9-5,
Rd 1: Naresh Kumar (In) bt Aruna Hewage (Sri) 9-0, 3-9, 9-5;
Rd 2: Wong Wai Hang (Chn) bt Naresh Kumar (Ind) 9-1, 9-4, 9-1.
Suchde Scores Maiden
PSA Title In
15th January 2008
secured his maiden PSA Tour title in some style in the
after upsetting two higher-seeded
players to reach the final of the Regions Racquet Club Pro Squash
Series at the Racquet Club in
US-based eighth seed from
Canada's fourth seed Ian Power in the quarter-finals before
toppling top-seeded Australian Tony James in straight games in the
His unseeded opponent
reached the final after overcoming seeds in the three earlier rounds.
the 20-year-old Mexican was no match for Suchde in the final as the
22-year-old former US Intercollegiate champion claimed a 11-9, 11-6, 11-4
victory, and his first PSA title success since joining the Association
almost four years ago.
Nandrajog back, is ready for the long haul
Times of India, Delhi
edition : 23rd January 2008
New Delhi: Comparing the
two Variable of the line graph of the ranking history on the net. One comes
to a conclusion that Gaurav Nandrajog must be going through one of the
finest time of his professional squash career- considering that he achieved
his higest ranking of 130 in the world recently. But that impression lasts
only till you meet him. After all, a graph doesn’t have the capacity to
spell out the emotional quotient of a sportsman.
“You would guess that I
must have improved my game between 2005 and 2007 given the fact that I’ve
moved up from207 to 130 in rankings in that period. But the reality is I’ve
been aching all through the last two years,” said the 23-year-old
Nandrajog. “ I was obsessed about my fitness, I couldn’t relax for three
hours straight. I had to do some activity or the other. Otherwise, I thought
I was lagging behind in fitness.
“Another mi8stek I made
repeatedly over the last two years was that I didn’t distinguish between
pre-season training and post-season training. After a season would end I
would end I would start straight off with eight hour of fitness training. I
learn’t it late and all by myself that when you start off on your fitness
regime after a gap, one has to build up the intensity of the program
gradually. But nobody told me about it and I didn’t listen to myown body.
Even if I was injured I would still train leading to recurring injuries.”
But despite “hurting”
in his ankle, Nandrajog chugged along and still managed to put up quite a
good show which is evedent from his ranking history (he climbed 65 places in
2007). Nandrajog is although peeved with himself for losing some close
matches. “In the last four tournaments, I lost almost all my matches in
five setters. Those matches could have gone either way.”
At the last quarter of
2007, Nandrajog took a break, sorted his mind out and started taking it easy
as far as his fitness is concerned and as a result, the India No.3 is back
at hundred per cent and is planning to move to Canada to further his career
and sharpen his skills. “ I
will train with Jonathan Power (the former world No.1) in Canada.
I need to move out of India. It’s
making me uncomfortable practicing with juniors,” stated the Delhi-based
“I knock with them
everyday and it’s helping their game but I’m stuck at the same level.
There will at least be two or three guys in the top 30 of the world
being coached at the Willingdon Club (Toronto).
It would be immensely helpful to my game if I get to knock with them
Needless to sat that for
those four months that he is planning to stay in Canada, Nandrajog is
desperately is looking for funding.
The Canada sojourn,
Nandrajog hopes, will reduce the chasm between Sourav Ghosal (India No.1 and
world No.47), Ritwik Bhattacharya (India No.2 and world No.61) and himself.
Nandrajog has been No.1 in U-15, U-17 and U-19 in India but since
U-19, for the last five years, Saurav Ghosal has always beaten him.
“Saurav has gone ahead of me because he built himself up slowly, more
systematically. Where as I went boom and then cracked, mentally. I’m sure
2008 is going to me one of my
best years. I am not going to be impulsive, I have promised myself.”
check for Indian juniors
in HindustanTimes (January 8, 2008) New Delhi
PLAYERS were brought down to earth after their 'superb' performance in the
Scottish Junior Open squash tournament in late December last year. Barring
Anwesha Reddy and eventual U-17 champion Dipika Pallikal, all exited before
the semifinal round in the British Open
which was held at Sheffied immediately after the Scottish sojourn.
The chief consultant coach, S. Maniam, had told the Hindustan Times after
the 'great' performance at the Scottish Open,
that he was hopeful of a good performance in England too. However, things
seem to have gone terribly awry. Maniam had said that the Scottish
Open would serve to acclimatise the players for the tougher British
Open. The Indians had won a whopping four age-group titles and
finished runners-up in two categories.
On January 3, HT had quoted Squash Racquet Association of Malaysia
(SRAM) president Datuk Sani Karim as saying that the Scottish
Open was a 'low-grade' tournament and that the SRAM would prefer
spending money in a better way.
At the British Open, Pallikal, who left the
SRFI-ICL academy in Chennai and is now
training under Egyptian coach Amir Wagih, was the only bright spot as she
won the U-17 title beating defending champion for the last five years, Heba
El Torky. She had skipped the Scottish Open.
Barring Reddy who exited in the quarterfinal, the rest could not go beyond
the third round (Pre-quarterfinals) (see box).
Maniam, however, put up a brave front. "I am extremely satisfied with
the performance," he said adding, "Dipika won the U-17 gold which
is a major achievement, while Anwesha Reddy entered the quarterfinals of the
Under-17 category…the players had performed to expectation."
Interestingly, the other player to do well at the British
Open was Aditya Jagtap, who too did not take part in the Scottish
Open. He was a bit unlucky but his achievements were no less
commendable, considering that he beat Pakistani U-17 champion and
second-seed Farhan Zaman 3-2 and lost in the quarterfinals to Egyptian Karim
Abdel Gawad in a marathon 83-minute match. Gawad went on to win the
tournament by beating the top seeded player of his country.
Boys (U-19) : Harinderpal Sandhu
(U-17) : Karan Mallik
(U-15) : Mahesh Mangaonkar
(U-11) : Sandeep Ramchandran
Girls (U-17) : Anwesha
(U15) : B. Aprajitha (runner-up)
(Six players who failed in both tournaments have been ignored)
Lost in 3rd rd
Lost in 1st rd
Lost in 3rd rd
Lost in 1st rd (in U-13 category)
Lost in QF
Lost in 1st rd