Highlights – Saurav Ghosal
- Squash has always been viewed as an elitist sport. In recent years new crop of players like Ritwik Bhattacharya, Dipika Pallikal, and Saurav Ghosal have popularized the games with the masses.
- Saurav Ghosal first captured the imagination of our nation, when he won the British Junior Open Under -19 in 2004. Over the years, he was continued bringing laurels to the nation in various tournaments.
- Though he had to be satisfied with bronze at both, the Asian Games 2006 held in Doha, Qatar as well as the Asian Games 2010 in Guangzhou, China, the 2014 edition of the Asian Games brought more cheer, as he bagged a silver!
- Saurav went on to win a silver at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in the mixed doubles event with Dipika Pallikal as well.
- Now, this World Championship quarter-finalist has firmly set his eyes on the Asian Games 2018, and we cannot be more hopeful of a gold from him!
We all dream. Most of us have ambitions. Few of us have the fire in the belly and the spark in the eyes. Even fewer have the grit and determination to fight for their dreams and reach pinnacles of success in their respective fields. Indian sportsmen and women have always inspired us. Their hard work and persistence are second to none. With the Asian Games 2018 just around the corner, we take a look at some awe-inspiring sports personalities. Arjuna award winner Saurav Ghosal is one such star, who consistently keeps shining brighter every passing year.
Saurav Ghosal – India’s Squash Star
The highest-ranked Indian squash player picked up his first racket at the tender age of 9. He gives credit to his father, Prakash Ghosal, for his initiation to the game. Even as a young student, Saurav mastered the fine art of balancing his education and sports career. In the initial years, he trained in Kolkata. After he finished his schooling, he moved to Chennai. His training stint at the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai played a crucial role in his development as a world-class squash player. He was coached by retired Major Maniam and Cyrus Poncha.
These formative years and subsequent training took his game to another level. His first major title was the German Open (U-17). Later he became the first Indian to win the British Open (U-19) title in 2004. This achievement was many of the firsts that he went to win for his beloved country. He entered the world top 20 in February 2013 and a career-high world ranking of 14 in February 2018.
Happy to have achieved my career high ranking of 14 this month 🙂 going in the right direction & hopefully there is still a lot more to come! pic.twitter.com/h56GzI1OdV
— Saurav Ghosal (@SauravGhosal) 1 февруари 2018 г.
Along with his stellar career, he continued balancing his studies. He completed his graduation in Economics and Management in Leeds. Currently, he is training under Malcolm Willstrop in Leeds.
Quick Facts – Saurav Ghosal
Date of Birth: 10 August 1986
Place of birth: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Height: 167cm (5 ft 6 in)
Weight: 64kg (10 st 1 lb)
School: Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata
Turned Pro: 2003
PSA World Ranking: 12
Born and brought up in Kolkata, Saurav is very close to his father, R.N. Ghosal, whose passion for sports inspired him to take squash. He married fellow squash player and friend, Dipika Pallikal’s sister Divya, in February 2017. He talks about balancing marriage and career in this interview with The New Indian Express, “I haven’t been able to experience what it’s like to be married, to be honest. After our marriage, I’ve been out competing continuously. But the early exit from El Gouna has meant that I could come back early and spend a week with Diya. She understands it is not easy with such a busy schedule. But we are planning to spend some time together in May and June.”
Interesting Facts about Saurav Ghosal
- World Championship – Saurav Ghosal is the 1st Indian squash player to reach the quarter-finals of World Championship. He achieved this feat in 2013. Unfortunately, he lost to Ramy Ashour in the quarterfinals.
- He was awarded the Arjuna Award by the President of India in the year 2007.
- Which one to choose – squash or cricket? Saurav was playing both cricket and squash till the age of 13. It became difficult to balance studies, as well as two sports, at the same time. Hence, he decided to pursue squash, as he enjoyed it more. The cricketing world sure must be sorry for this!
- Apart from squash, Saurav follows sports like football, tennis, and cricket.
Impetus for Squash
Squash has always been considered as an elitist sport in India. To increase our prospects in the game at the international scene, it is crucial to support players coming from less privileged backgrounds. Saurav believes that introducing the sport at school level will help break these shackles and give it a more mass appeal. If budding squash players are provided with more opportunities and better training facilities, we would definitely end up producing more champions in this sport.
Exciting Asiad Journey
Although Saurav has had an exciting journey at the Asiads. There have been lots of hits, but some hard misses. The yellow metal has eluded him in his three appearances at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza. Let us take a quick look at his Asian Games journey.
The Asian Games 2014
- The previous edition of the prestigious games brought a new high for Saurav. He went on to win a silver medal in the squash individual singles category at Incheon.
- He lost to Abdullah Al Muzayen in the finals, even though he was leading 2-0 initially. It was a heartbreaking loss, providing him all the more impetus to bring top honors in the upcoming edition.
- “I have not played him much on the PSA circuit but had beaten him only once in the team event and he had beaten me 3-1 in the semifinals at Doha,” he said to the First Post after defeating top-10 player Ong Beng Hee of Malaysia in the semifinals. He was very strong since the beginning of the game and beat his opponent with a commanding 11-9 11-4 11-5 score.
- Although he had to settle for the second-best medal in the squash singles, the team event provided a lot of cheer, as the Indian squash team went on to win the gold.
The Asian Games 2010
- In the Asian games 2010, Saurav had to settle for a bronze in both, individual as well as team events.
- Initially, he easily defeated Altemimi Ammar of Kuwait 3-0. Later, he beat his country comrade Siddharth Suchde in the quarterfinals.
- The real challenge came in the semi-finals. After a tough fight and showcase of immense talent, he lost to Mohammad Azlan Iskandar of Malaysia by 3-1.
The Asian Games 2006
- Saurav announced himself to the world by winning a bronze at the Asian Games 2006.
- He won a lot of recognition and fame because of his feat.
Saurav is all set to give his best in the Asian Games 2018. This could be his last chance to bring the coveted gold home, as he is turning 32 years old in August and not certain about his fitness levels in the next cycle of the games. After coming extremely close in 2014, we are sure that he’ll finally cross the last obstacle in his lifelong dream and make us proud. For now, his plan is to focus on each game and be mentally strong. It is indeed true that half the game is won by mental strength. With his successful training under David Palmer in Florida and of course, his coach Willstrop, his game has improved tremendously. When he goes to Indonesia, he will be carrying the weight of aspirations of the entire nation.
He talks passionately about his dreams and aspirations on his website page. He says, “I want to be remembered as a humble sportsman and role model who broke all barriers to achieve his goal of being world champion. I want to make a difference to the way squash is viewed
by the common man in India. I want to make India proud! And I will someday.
Why? Because I believe in the power of dreams and the strength of unwavering passion
Ever since he was a nine-year-old, Saurav has cherished the dream to become a squash
champion. This humility and self-belief are what distinguishes us mere mortals
from legends. Sourav Ghosal has made our country proud over the years, and we
are sure he will bring home the gold in the Asian Games 2018!
List of Achievements
- Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast, Australia (Mixed Doubles with Dipika Pallikal) – Silver
- 2014 Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea – Silver
- 2014 Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea (Men’s Team Event) – Gold
- 2010 Asian Games, Guangzhou, China (Individual and Team) – Bronze
- English Grand Prix 2010 – Quarterfinalist
- Senior National Men’s Squash Championships 2009 – Winner
- Punj Lloyd PSA Masters – Pre-quarter finals
- PSA Ornano International 2008 – Winner
- Senior National Men’s Squash Championships 2008 – Winner
- 6th PSA ICL Chennai Open 2008 – Winner
- Senior National Men’s Squash Championships 2007 – Winner
- 5th PSA ICL Chennai Open 2007 – Winner
- Asian Games 2006, Doha, Qatar – Bronze
- Senior National Men’s Squash Championships 2006 – Winner
- PSA Otters Open 2006 – Winner
- British Junior Open Under -19 2004 – Winner
Awards & Recognition
- Arjuna Award – 2007
- The Government of India Award for Medal winners in International Events – 2005
- Hero Indian Sports Academy Award – Best Sportsman in Other Sports – 2005
- Most Promising Player – Asian Junior Squash Championships – 2005
- Paes En Sports Award for Best Schoolboy Sportsman – 2000
- Jugal Srimal Award for Sports – 1999 & 2000
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