Mahesh beat Vikram Malhotra 11-4, 13-15, 11-2, 5-11, 15-13 while Joshna dominated Urwashi Joshi 9-11, 11-1, 11-6, and 11-5.
Joshna Chinappa and Mahesh Mangaonkar bagged the women’s and men’s singles titles respectively at the National Squash Championships in New Delhi on Sunday. Both of these wins were memorable for the champions for different reasons.
Squash star Joshna Chinappa equalled Bhuvneshwari Kumari’s record of 16 national titles by edging out Urvashi Joshi. Mahesh Mangaonkar won his maiden crown on the concluding day of the premier domestic event.
Joshna had it easier though Urwashi Joshi did surprise her by taking the first game. The reigning champion ensured the ride was smooth from there on en route a record-equalling crown.
The 32-year-old said it was always special to come back to the Nationals, where she won her maiden title as a 14-year-old. Overall, Joshna has played in a staggering 18 finals, losing just two of them.
Post-match, Joshna expressed, “There is a funny story behind this. When I was 12, my father told me that ‘you have to win your first national title before you turn 16’ and I did it at 14. The plan at that point was to win as many Nationals as I could. For me, playing the Nationals is more about reliving the child in me ever since I played my first as a 12-year-old,” Joshna said.
Her achievements on the international stage easily eclipse Kumari’s feats and now Joshna wants to break her national record. “Yes I do want to have the maximum number of titles, I am not going to lie about that. It is nice to equal her record. To be here after 20 years in the sport is a testament to the work I have done.”
Though Joshna had been clinching the National Championships from over the last two decades but has also seen some tough battles with Mekhala Subedar and longtime teammate Dipika Pallikal.
“My biggest battles have been with Mekhala and Dipika. Everyone loves watching Dipika and me play,” added Joshna.
In the men’s singles match, Mahesh Mangaonkar beat Vikram Malhotra by 11-4, 13-15, 11-2, 5-11, 15-13. Mangaonkar had a tough fight against Vikram in a final that saw many twists and turns. Vikram had three match points to settle the argument but failed to grab them all will. This is surely going to haunt this US-based player for a long time.
Last year, Vikram had won against Mahesh at a PSA event, but Sunday proved to be a different story and the fortune turned its favours towards Mahesh.
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