Overall, in the past few months Indian squash players have been playing quite well. After securing a fifth-place finish — their best ever — at the World Team Championships in France, and Joshna Chinappa was in top form at the Bombay Gymkhana Maharashtra State Open which followed. After a knee injury which set her back in the world rankings, Joshna aims to break into the Top 20 world rankings soon.
Mahesh Mangaonkar has also been faring well, and his performance at the PSA Prague Open was noteworthy. He beat France’s Lucas Serme to make his first maiden win. In the final Mahesh defeated Frenchman Lucas Serme 5-11,11-5,9-11, 11-9, 11-9. Both of the finalists reached the end of their strength reserves – the cramps got them during the third game. Nonetheless, they endured and provided the audience with a spectacle they are not like to forget, and Mahesh emerged victorious after a grueling match.
More recently, Indian squash players have made a considerable mark at the Hong Kong Open. It is one of the biggest Squash tournaments and is rated as a Grand Prix event in the international squash calendar. The popular competition stars dozens of world-ranked players battling it out in front of enthusiastic fans.
Dipika Pallikal managed to win the match against local challenges Liu Tsz Ling. This got her a spot in the second round of the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open. Pallikal, seeded 12th, showed great skill and determination to beat Ling 7-11 11-6 11-1 11-5 in the first round of the PSA World Series squash event at the Hong Kong Squash Centre. Joshna Chinappa also played an impressive match against Hong Kong’s Annie Auu. Joshna won the match against the Top ten player to progress to the next stage of the competition.
In the men’s section, Siddarth Suchde had defeated Hong Kong’s Alex Lau 11-6 11-2 11-5 in 30 minutes in the first qualifying round. Unfortunately, he lost to Australia’s Ryan Cuskelly 6-11 4-11 4-11 in the qualifying final.
Saurav Ghosal India’s No.1 squash player feels that the current talent that the country has in terms of squash players is the best he has seen since he started playing 18 years ago. Although people might disagree with Saurav Ghosal’s opinion, it is only fair to say that the rankings speak for themselves. Pallikal is ranked 13th in the world, Chinappa 32nd, Suchde 50th, Sandhu 73rd and 18-year-old Mangaonkar 118th. Saurav too has the ambition and drive to break in to the Top Ten World Rankings by the end of next year.
Despite the reservoir of immense talent in India, it looks like enough recognition is still not given where sponsorships and funding for tournaments like PSA (Professional Squash Association) and WSA (Women’s Squash Association) are concerned.
World rankings of the Top 4 India squash players:
|Dipika Pallikal||World No.13|
|Saurav Ghosal||World No.22|
|Joshna Chinappa||World No.32|
|Siddharth Suchde||World No.50|
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