Delia: Nicol will be back at the top

The semifinals of the ISA junior squash open, here, on Friday received a small and entertaining break when three top women players, Malaysian Delia Arnold, India’s Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, and a junior boys’ player Abhay Singh entered the glass court for a doubles exhibition match.

Returning to the city after 10 years, she was all praise for the facilities. “It’s good to play in the glass court. The facilities are very good here,” she said.   -  V. Ganesan

Delia Arnold (second from left) along with Dipika Pallikal, Joshna Chinappa and Abhay Singh playing an exhibition match at the Indian Squash Academy, in Chennai.   -  V. Ganesan

The semifinals of the ISA junior squash open, here, on Friday received a small and entertaining break when three top women players, Malaysian Delia Arnold, India’s Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, and a junior boys’ player Abhay Singh entered the glass court for a doubles exhibition match. The modest gathering at ISA enjoyed every bit of it.

The Malaysian World No.15 Delia was the cynosure of all eyes. Returning to the city after 10 years, she was all praise for the facilities. “It’s good to play in the glass court. The facilities are very good here,” said Delia, who came on the invitation of Maj. S. Maniam, Consultant Coach of Squash Rackets Federation of India, to conduct a two-day clinic for juniors.

On Nour el Sherbini becoming the new world women’s champion, Delia said “it’s exciting to have a young champion. She is only 20 years and it is good for the sport.”

Delia said after PSA reduced the height of the tin late last year, there has been a lot of upsets and it has benefited the Egyptians for they revel in the attacking game.

According to Delia, Nicol David, who has slipped to World No.5 after being in the top for nine years, will definitely come back to where she was. “It’ll take time but she should be back. It’s just that she is not able to accept that she is No.5 now! Of course, there is pressure. I am sure she will overcome it.”

Delia said it’s great to see Maj. Maniam taking charge of Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia from July. “He has done great things for India. I look forward to working with Major,” she said.

Later, Joshna and Dipika expressed confidence of the Indian women’s team doing well in the Asian team championships in Chinese Taipei from May 11 to 15. “We are a solid team. Obviously, there will be stiff competition. We are focused. In fact, we have a good chance to win the gold,” said Dipika. Joshna said it is better that she and Dipika finish their matches instead of leaving it to others. “We don’t want to let anyone decide the match,” she said.