Four years ago at Incheon, Saurav Ghosal was a shattered man as he slipped at the doorstep of victory in the men’s singles final of the Asian Games. He was just one point away from a historic gold then.
Just as in 2014, Ghosal is the top seed here, the man to watch in the 18th Asian Games squash that begins on Sunday.
But Ghosal is not building castles in the air, not after the recent Commonwealth Games where he shockingly crashed out in the second round. He is currently the Asia No. 1 but Ghosal is taking every player very seriously.
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“If I didn’t learn from the Commonwealth Games, then I’m being stupid. I’m cautious about every player, I want to take it one day at a time,” the 32-year-old told Sportstar here on Wednesday.
The early loss in Gold Coast had emotionally drained him and it took him some time to recover. And Ghosal went back to his coaches — Malcolm Willstrop in England and Australia’s former world champion David Palmer in the US — and appears to have come to Jakarta with a new bag of tricks.
“I’ll be trying some new things here. And I hope I can find the right balance between what David wants me to do and what Malcolm wants me to do, if I can get that right, then it would be a very good combination,” he said.
Ghosal was the big reason for India’s greatest Asian Games moment in squash at Incheon. For a country which had only been seeing bronze before that, he and Harinder Pal Sandhu played a big role to bring the country its maiden gold, with the men’s team triumph.
He is virtually assured of a bronze even before the start here, for if there are no early shocks, Ghosal will be meeting his teammate Harinder Pal Sandhu, World No. 59, in the singles quarterfinals.
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When he won his first Asiad medal, a bronze in 2006, Ghosal was among the team’s youngest members. Now, he is the senior most. But despite his age, the Kolkata star says that he in prime form and fitness.
“I think I’m physically a lot better now than what I was when I was 17 by a long way. And that’s why I’m 12 in the world right now, my best ranking,” he said.
That sounds very good, raises hopes.
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