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Indians hope to end Asian senior squash jinx

Indian boys and girls have won the Asian Individual Junior squash titles often, but the senior crown has eluded them. Though Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa have been in the top bracket in the women’s section for many years in the region, they had to contend with a World champion Nicol David of Malaysia for the major part.

Indians hope to end Asian senior squash jinx
Joshna Chinappa in action


As Nicol takes a break, the Indian duo will naturally fancy their chances as in the upcoming Asian Individual Championships to be held in the city this year next week.

Nicol won eight titles in a row from 1998 to 2011 and when she took a break in 2013, Annie Au of Hong Kong won the title. Nicol is not there this time too for reasons not known but Annie Au is there as the top seed followed by Joshna Chinappa as the second seed and Dipika Pallikal as the fourth seed.

“I hope for a dream final between Joshna and Dipika in the women’s section,” says Cyrus Poncha, the Indian team coach and tournament director for this year’s Asian event in Chennai. “Joshna is in top form after reaching the World Open quarter-final and she is high on confidence.” For that to happen, Joshna and Dipika have to follow the seedings and enter the semi-finals first and then one of them should remove Annie Au on the way.

In the men’s section, India’s Saurav Ghosal is the second seed behind Max Lee of Kong Kong. The coach is optimistic about Ghosal’s chances but he feels “it is a difficult task.” Cyrus is keen also to watch Asian Junior Boys champion Velavan Senthilkumar’s performance in the senior section.

However, the gap in performance between India’s juniors and seniors in Asian championships remains a concern.”Yes, we have had Jahangir and Jansher (Khans) ruling the men’s field for many years and in the women’s section, in the last 20 years it was Nicol all the way. The closest that we came to the title in Asian was when Misha Grewal reached the ladies final in 1996,” said Cyrus.

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