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Joshna Chinappa – Story of The Indian Squash Sensation

Joshna Chinappa became the first Indian to sweep British Squash Championship title in 2003 for the U19 category. She also became the youngest women’s national champion. Joshna’s first PSA Tour title came at the 2008 NSC Super Satellite No.3, whereas her second title came just a week later. She went on to win her first Tour title in Europe at the German Ladies Open in 2010. Joshna later added the Windy City Open to her trophy cabinet the following year, beating fellow Indian Dipika Pallikal in the final.

joshna-chinappa-squash Indian athlete stories KreedOn
Joshna Chinappa ( Credit: NDTV)

Full Name Joshna Chinappa
Sport Squash
Hometown Chennai, India
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight 64 kg
Age 32 (15 September 1986)
Titles 7
Highest Rank 10 (2016)
World Ranking (Current) 14 (as of 2018)
World Series Ranking (Current) 12 (as of 2018)
Shoe & Clothing Sponsor Nike
Coach Hadrian Stiff & Anjan Chinappa

Biography

Joshna Chinappa - Indian Squash Player - KreedOn

Joshna Chinappa is keeping the Indian flag flying high with her impressive performances.

She reached a career-high ranking of World No. 10 in July 2016. She is the second Indian in history to make her spot in the world top 10  ranking after Dipika Pallikal. Dipika had also risen to this level in December 2012.

Background

Born on 15th September 1986 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Joshna started playing squash at the tender age of 8 at the Madras Cricket Club.

The game of squash runs in her blood as her family has been playing the game for the last four generations. Joshna’s great-grandfather, Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, who was also the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, was a regular player of the game of squash. Her grandfather and her father Anjan Chinappa have represented Tamil Nadu squash teams several times.

The Golden Moment

Joshna Chinappa - Indian Squash Player - KreedOn
Source: PTI

In April 2018 at EL Gouna International Squash Tournament Egypt, Chinappa defeated eight-time World Champion and former world number one, Nicol David in straight sets 11-8, 11-8, 11-8.

It was her first ever win over the legendary Malaysian player.

From the start, Joshna never allowed Nicol to build any rhythm. Joshna led in each of the three games and displayed some wonderful backhand flicks.

In the first game, David levelled at 8-8 but Joshna grabbed all next three points. The second game saw Joshna trailing 8-9 after the initial big lead of 7-3 but Joshna regained control. She closed the game 11-8.

In the third game, Chinappa sprinted to a 7-1 lead but Nicol came back stronger and even saved two match points before Joshna finished with an unbelievable win.

“At times when you are caught up in back-to-back tournaments, it tells on the body and performance and consistency suffers. I don’t know how I did it. A few of us are just back from the Commonwealth Games, not just me, and that’s one of the challenges of being a professional athlete” she said after her win.

Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik- Are they rivals?

Joshna Chinappa - Indian Squash Player - KreedOn
Source – India Times

Barely a month after Joshna and Dipika made history by winning India’s first ever gold at the Commonwealth Games 2014, both of them ceased to talk after the heated exchange on the court during Asian Games 2014 in Incheon, South Korea.

The situation took place during quarter-finals match between the two, where Dipika defeated her doubles partner Joshna and went on to win India’s first women’s singles medal at the Asian Games.

Before the start of the Games, both Dipika and Joshna had called the draw “unfortunate” with both Indians in the same pool.

“It is back to normal between us. We have known each other way too long to not sort out our differences. And we also live in the same city (Chennai). Besides that, both of us realize the importance of playing together and get more medals for India,” revealed Joshna. 

Joshna says that “the so-called rivalry between the two is hyped up by the media. They are both competitive with each other, but get along well, as they are often roommates for events and teammates in events such as the Commonwealth Games.

Dipika, who is five years younger to Joshna, too has moved on from the Incheon incident. It can only be good for Indian squash that the leading ladies of the game are sharing the room and advising each other on the game instead of fighting a ‘lonely’ battle on the professional tours.

Family

Joshna Chinappa was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu’s capital city on 15th September 1986. It was at the age of 8, that Joshna Chinappa started playing squash at the Madras Cricket Club.

Squash is in the blood of this young National Champion, as Joshna Chinappa’s family has been into the sport for the last four generations. Her great-grandfather, Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, also the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, played the sport fondly. Joshna’s father, Anjan Chinappa, similar to her grandfather, also played squash regularly. He also went on to represent Tamil Nadu several times.

Lesser Known facts of Joshna Chinappa

  • Joshna Chinappa is the first beneficiary of the Mittal Champions Trust. Mittal Champions Trust supported Indian athletes with world-beating potential. It was funded by Lakshmi Mittal and founded by Mahesh Bhupathi. Trust stopped its operations in 2012.
  • Favorite sportsperson: Andre Agassi
  • Dream date: Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Favorite pastime: Hanging with friends and shopping

Achievements

Joshna was the first Indian to win the British Squash Championship title in 2003 in the under 19 categories and is also the youngest Indian women’s national champion.

  • Indian National Junior, 2004 – Gold
  • Indian National Senior, 2004 – Gold
  • Asian Championship, 2004 – Bronze
  • Malaysian Junior, 2004 – Gold
  • British Open Junior, 2004 – Silver
  • SAF Games, Pakistan, 2004 – Gold
  • British Junior Open, 2005 – Gold
  • Asian Junior, 2005 – Gold
  • World Junior Championships, Belgium, 2005 – Silver
  • South Asian Games 2016 –Gold
  • Asian Squash Championship 2017 – Gold.winning her maiden Asian Squash Championship crown. She defeated Dipika Pallikal in 1 hour 18 min match.

Women’s Doubles game

  •  2014 Commonwealth Games – Gold

Chinappa along with Dipika Pallikal Karthik won India’s first ever 2014 Commonwealth Games medal in the squash women’s doubles in Glasgow.

  • WSF World Doubles Squash Championships 2017

Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal won the bronze medal.

  • 2018 Commonwealth Games

The pair of Chinappa and Dipika won a Silver medal in women’s doubles at Gold Coast, losing to Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy of New Zealand.

Awards

  • Arjuna award in 2013

Future of Squash: the Indian perspective

Squash is gaining momentum in the country with the impressive performances by Indian players. Though, it is still regarded as a luxury sport and restricted to the elite few in India.

Squash is still a club-level sport in many cities and not everyone can afford a membership to play.

Things are changing a little as a lot of real estates builders have started building squash courts in their premises because it has lots of health benefit as well. All these will add to the growth of squash in the country, but again it is happening only in metro cities.

Maybe a sports league for squash in the line of the tennis, badminton, football and kabaddi leagues can help to increase the interest in sports and promote the players from grass root level.

A Brief History about Squash in India

Joshna Chinappa - Indian Squash Player - KreedOn

Squash is a popular recreational sport in India and is becoming popular as a competitive sport. Squash is not an Olympic sport so far but is part of Commonwealth and Asian Games since 1998.

Though squash is not part of Olympics, Professional Squash Association (PSA), the international governing body of the sports conducts yearly ‘Squash World Championship’ where the best players from around the world compete to be the ultimate squash champion. The India men’s national squash team has participated in three quarter-finals of the World Team Squash Championships since 1967.

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