India loses to Pakistan in World Junior championships

Top-seed Egypt brushed aside Argentina to sail into the last eight along with Canada and Hong Kong.

Abbas Zeb plays a shot against Yash Fadte during the WSF-World junior squash championship in Chennai.   -  S.R.Raghunathan

India lost to Pakistan in the men’s team event of the World Junior Squash Championship, thus ending its run in the tournament. Despite being seeded 11th this year, Pakistan was the defending champion and it showed as it eliminated fifth seed India in two straight matches.

Regardless of the sport, India versus Pakistan is always a match of high stakes and so was the case here. The Express Avenue mall was set for a pre-quarterfinal clash between the arch rivals as flags of both countries flanked the glass court. The seats were filled and many more stood against the railings on the floors above.

Rahul Baitha was first up. For most of it, his match against Haris Qasim was a game of back and forths. Rahul took the first game 11-8. In the second game, they matched each other with every shot, but Haris won a tight game 16-14.

The third and fourth games took on a completely different hue. The third game was even at 4-4, before Haris ran away with the game 11-6. Rahul started the fourth game well but tapered off and Haris won the game 11-7, putting his side in front.

Yash Fadte had saved India from the jaws of defeat against Switzerland in the group stage and there were expectations that he would do the same against Pakistan’s top seed Abbas Zeb.

In what has become a pattern in India’s matches, Yash won the first game 11-6. The second game was close, but Abbas edged it, taking it 11-9.

Yash started off poorly in the third game. He trailed 0-6 after a string of unforced errors. Even though he made a comeback to level the score at 10-10, Abbas won 12-10. The national no. 1 appeared to have lost all fight in the fourth game. Another set of unforced errors left him reeling at 0-7. From there, Abbas easily clinched the match for Pakistan.

The teams mutually decided to play a third match. In a dead rubber, Veer Chotrani won 12-10, 11-5 against Muhammad Uzair.

India couldn’t make the best of the obviously partisan crowd that had gathered to watch the match.

After Pakistan's progress to the quarterfinal, its coach Mohammed Yasin, who believes that the pressure got to India, said, “We were physically and mentally better prepared than India.”

Hong Kong trumps Colombia

Hong Kong defeated Colombia 2-1 in match that went down to the wire.

This is the second time in the competition that ninth seed Hong Kong defeated a team seeded higher than it, to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

To Wai Lok put Hong Kong in front with a convincing 3-0 win (11-7, 11-8, 11-7) over Andres Villamizar. Colombia pulled one back and levelled the score through its top seed Matias Knudsen. Knudsen breezed through his match against Chung Yat Long to win it 3-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-3).

In the decider, Colombia’s Luis Mancilla lost the first two games but came back to win the next two. Ho Ka Hei clinched it with a 12-10 win in the last game.

Hong Kong causing another upset looks unlikely as it is drawn against no. 1 seed Egypt in the next round.

Canada and Malaysia progressed to the quarterfinals with wins over Australia and Ireland respectively. Canada will face USA and Malaysia will meet Czech Republic in the next round.


Quarterfinal fixtures

Egypt vs Hong Kong

Canada vs USA

Malaysia vs Czech Republic

England vs Pakistan


The results

Pakistan beat India 2-1 (Haris Qasim bt Rahul Baitha 8-11, 16-14, 11-6, 11-7; Abbas Zeb bt Yash Fadte 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-2; Muhammad Uzair lost to Veer Chotrani 10-12, 5-11)

Hong Kong bt Colombia 2-1 (To Wai Lok bt Andres Villamizar 11-7, 11-8, 11-7; Chung Yat Long lost to Matias Knudsen 3-11, 6-11, 3-11; Ho Ka Hei bt Lui Alejandro Mancilla 11-8, 11-5,8-11,9-11, 12-10)

Malaysia bt Ireland 2-0 (Duncan YungYii Lee bt Scott Gillanders 5-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-9; Darren Rahul Pragasam bt Conar Moran 7-11, 13-11, 11-7, 11-8)

Australia lost to Canada 0-3 (Maaz Jamal Khatri lost to Ryan Picken 11-9, 10-12, 15-13,5-11, 5-11; Nicholas Calvert lost to James Flynn 6-11, 11-3, 3-11, 5-11; Jacob Ford lost to George Crowne11-6, 4-11, 8-11)

Egypt bt Argentina 3-0 (Mostafa El Serty bt Lisandro Ortiz 11-7, 11-2, 11-5; Marwan Tarek bt Jeremias Azana 11-5, 11-5, 11-3; Omar E. Torkey bt Dylan Tymkiw 11-3, 11-1)

Germany lost to England 0-2 (Maximillian Baum lost to Jared Carter 5-11, 3-11, 4-11; Abdel-Rehman Ghait lost to Nicholas Wall 10-12, 6-11, 4-11)

Czech Republic bt Switzerland 2-0 (Marek Panacek bt Miguel Mathis 11-5, 11-2, 11-5; Viktor Byrtus bt Yannick Wilhemi 11-7, 11-8, 11-8)

USA bt New Zealand 2-0 (Thomas Rosini bt Temw Chileshe 6-11, 11-9, 11-4, 9-11, 11-9; Daelum Mawji bt Matthew Lucente 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 12-10).

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