On April 1 this year, Saurav Ghosal became the first ever Indian male squash player to enter the top 10 of the PSA world rankings and on April 5, he became the first ever Indian male to win the Asian Individual Squash Championships in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to be part of another historic moment.
He and Joshna Chinappa got the country their first ever Asian Double as both won titles of men’s and women’s singles events respectively of the championship.
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India achieved this feat at the 20th Asian Individual Squash Championships which was hosted in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
Joshna Chinappa, who’s the highest ranked Indian Female squash player, is sitting just inside the top 15 of the PSA world rankings. Chinappa successfully retained her women’s title after fending off a strong challenge by top seed Annie Au of Hong Kong in the final at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil.
The Indian number one female squash player was certainly fired up as she stuck to her game plan for an 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 win.
The match was a display of excellent shot-making and retrieval but it was Chinappa who drew first blood by taking the first game 11-5. World No.11 Au did well to keep herself in the game and as she stepped with a more aggressive approach to level proceedings.
Speaking post the match, the Indian said, “I lost to Annie in our last three meetings with a 3/0 scoreline so this was obviously going to be hard match but I felt I was much better prepared this time.”
With this, Joshna Chinappa also becomes the second female squash player to successfully retain the Asian Individual Squash Championships title. Nine-time Asian champion Nicol David is the first female to successfully retain the Asian title.
Jubilant with this feat, Chinappa said, “I mean wow…Nicol’s shoes is such a big one to fill and I’ve only done one tenth of what she’s done so I’m really pleased to get this result.”
In men’s singles, world No.10 and top seed Saurav Ghosal went on and completed a fabulous day for India by beating 2015 winner Leo Au 11-9, 11-2, 11-8.
The Indian showed his top 10 pedigree with a quickfire grab of the second game before winning the points when it mattered to take the win, also in 42 minutes.
Saurav has twice fallen short of title in Asian tournaments, most notably in the final of the Asian meet in 2017 and final of the Asian Games in 2014.
Speaking about the title win, “Of course, winning a tournament is always great, winning my first Asian title is also pleasing but to do it together with Joshna is simply unbelievable.”
Speaking about the win, India’s National Coach Cyrus Poncha added: “It was a fabulous result in the Asian Championship. What was missed two years ago, we have for the first time won both the titles.”
Speaking further, Poncha said, “It is a massive achievement and both players have been working hard for this. Saurav is in the top 10 in the world and Joshna is 15. A system was set two decades ago has now begun to push Indian squash forward in a glorious way.”
The winners both received the ASF Challenge Trophy which was presented by Asian Squash Federation (ASF) president David Mui.