Ghosal, Joshna to lead Indian contingent for South Asian Games

Indian squash men’s and women’s teams, including Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa, were named today for the South Asian Games scheduled to be held at Guwahati and Shillong from February 5th to 16th. There were no major surprises in the teams as the men’s squad comprises Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Kush Kumar and Ravi Dixit and the women’s team consists of Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Akanksha Salunkhe.

Sourav Ghosal (right) is expected to be fully fit by February next year.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Indian squash men’s and women’s teams, including Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa, were named today for the South Asian Games scheduled to be held at Guwahati and Shillong from February 5th to 16th. There were no major surprises in the teams as the men’s squad comprises Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Kush Kumar and Ravi Dixit and the women’s team consists of Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Akanksha Salunkhe.

Mahesh Mangaonkar, who usually finds a place in the men’s squad did not attend the camp. He had recently reported illness but there was no further word from him, a Squash Racquets Federation of India (SRFI) release said. In the women’s section, Harshit Kaur Jawanda would have been a favourite for selection but her preparation for the British Junior Open and also academics (she has board exams coming up) kept this Delhi-based girl away from the trials.

The exclusion of senior pro Sachika Ingle was a surprise only because she was higher-ranked than Sunayna and Akanksha but then in the trials both these juniors had the better of Sachika. The Indian men’s and women’s teams were picked at the Indian Squash Academy after a short camp and trials.

Speaking on the camp, Maj S Maniam, Consultant Coach of SRFI, said: “It was a routine exercise. We had conditioning in the morning and practice matches in the evening. Those present showed all the enthusiasm expected.” On Ghosal’s foot injury sustained in the recent Hong Kong Open, Maj Maniam said he should be okay in a week’s time and since the Games are to be held in February he would be fully fit by then. “I expect India to do well,” he said.

National coach Cyrus Poncha was confident of a good show. “This team both in the men’s and women’s section should be enough for us to return with a rich haul of medals,” he said. Poncha, who just returned from Guwahati where he had gone to supervise the arrangements for the squash competition, said five countries in the men’s section and four in the women’s have entered the competition.

Poncha and Bhuvaneshwari Kumari will be part of the Indian squad as officials.