CHENNAI: Having won medals in the past, Indian squash veterans Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal know what it takes to make it to the podium at the Commonwealth Games.
Boasting a reservoir of experience under their belt, Joshna and Saurav – flag-bearers of the sport in the country alongside Dipika Pallikal Karthik in the last decade and a half – are motivated to add Birmingham CWG medals to their already decorated CVs. While Joshna will compete in women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles at the July 28-August 8 event, Saurav will be in action in men’s singles and mixed doubles.
“Saurav and I have been playing on tour for a number of years now. We are still in the top-20 in the world (Saurav is 15th in men’s singles while Joshna is 17th in women’s singles). We (India) definitely have a chance of winning a medal in doubles. This time, we are trying to push for a medal in singles as well,” said two-time CWG medal winner Joshna on the sidelines of a Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) press conference, where the national association announced initiatives as part of the HCL Squash Podium Program.
On his part, Saurav, a 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, said: “We have realistic chances in four categories – men’s singles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. We have put ourselves in that position. We just need to keep our body and mind fresh so that we play the best possible squash. Hopefully, it all comes together.”
‘Good to have fresh inputs and minds’
The SRFI has roped in former world champion Gregory Gaultier and Sebastian Bonmalais for the ongoing two-week CWG ‘performance’ camp at the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) here. Joshna said that the India squad would benefit immensely from the French duo’s presence.
“First of all, it is nice to have someone of the calibre of Greg (Gregory) with us. He still plays at an unbelievably high level. He is one of the best trainers we have had in a very long time. His expertise and knowledge will definitely boost us. Sebastian plays on the pro tour. So, it is nice to have fresh inputs and minds,” Joshna added.
Talking about the “home stretch of the team’s preparations”, Saurav said: “We started the camp on Monday. I came back from America on Saturday. I trained there for three weeks. The last block of training is going really well. We are preparing in the best possible way to produce medal-winning performances.”
SQUAD: Men’s singles: Saurav Ghosal, Ramit Tandon and Abhay Singh; Men’s doubles: Ramit Tandon/Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Velavan Senthilkumar/Abhay Singh; Women’s singles: Joshna Chinappa, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Anahat Singh; Women’s doubles: Joshna Chinappa/Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Sunayna Kuruvilla/Anahat Singh; Mixed doubles: Saurav Ghosal/Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Ramit Tandon/Joshna Chinappa