Indian squash players Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa brought laurels to the country after emerging as the champions at the Asian Individual Squash Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. They achieved the feat after having missed out in Chennai two years ago.
It is the first time that India’s has won both the titles. Joshna Chinappa, the second seed, impressively defeated the top seed Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 to achieve her title.
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For Joshna, the match was very important because last month in the Macau Open, Annie downed her in straight games for her 12th win in 20 meetings. Last time, Joshna beat Annie Au was in the Hong Kong International Open in 2017. Post two years, in 2019, she downed her again clinching the title.
Top-seeded and last year’s finalist, Saurav Ghosal clinched his title without missing a chance as he downed the fourth seed Leo Au Chun Ming, also of Hong Kong, in straight games 11-9, 11-2, 11-8.
Ghosal, being a finalist last year ensured there was no slip this time and he carefully played against his rival for the win. There were slight changes in the first and third game where the Hong Kong player could have taken over him but Ghosal was fully prepared and his only goal was a success.
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The national Squash coach Cyrus Poncha shared his pride claiming that the results are fabulous and their missed chances two years back have led them to win both the titles this time. He further expressed that it is an achievement to be celebrated.
Joshna was content with her performances in the competition. She said, “I thought I really played well, in the final. I had lost to Annie a few times prior to this. So I had come prepared, and the court and the conditions helped. More importantly, I found the length and that was the key and yes am very happy to defend the title.”
On the other hand, Ghosal too was elated by the victory. “I am happy to win the Asian title for the first time. I had come close in the past but did not cross the line then. So it is hugely satisfying to finally win it for India. Overall, it is a good week of squash for me squash wise. It is a great day for India and hopefully, this will lead to further success in the near future,” he said.
Currently, Saurav is placed in the top 10 in the world rankings and Joshna’s is in top 15. Indian Squash is evolving in a glorious way.