Going for gold: A look into the Indian squash team’s preparation for CWG 2022

Beside the 2014 gold medal-winning duo of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik, the squad will also be featuring Dipika and Saurav Ghosal in the mixed doubles category.

Saurav Ghosal trains with former World Champion and World No.1 Gregory Gaultier of France at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai on July 11.

Saurav Ghosal trains with former World Champion and World No.1 Gregory Gaultier of France at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai on July 11. | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ

Beside the 2014 gold medal-winning duo of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik, the squad will also be featuring Dipika and Saurav Ghosal in the mixed doubles category.

The Indian squash contingent, looking to clinch multiple medals at the upcoming Commonwealth Games, is attending a final training session at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai under the guidance of former world number 1 Gregory Gaultier.

Beside the 2014 gold medal-winning duo of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal Karthik, the squad will also be featuring Dipika and Saurav Ghosal in the mixed doubles category. The duo will be eyeing a better finish on this occasion, having finished with a silver medal in 2018.

With Saurav and Joshna likely to be seeded in the singles events, there may be another medal for the taking if the Indians are not pitted against the likes of Paul Coll (World no. 2, men’s) and Joelle King (World no. 5, women’s) before the business end. 

“I’ve had a great block of training the last 4-5 weeks. I’m looking to put myself in the best position,” says Saurav.

On working with Gregory, Saurav says he has been going over his plans with the Frenchman in the run-up to the Games, adding that, to pick his brain at such a time has been like “gold-dust”.

Joshna, an experienced campaigner, has been gearing up in full force too, having earlier trained with the best in the world in Egypt.

“I’ve known Greg for the legend that he is but I’ve never had the chance to get on court with him and talk to him about the game, even though we played on the Pro tour. It’s been great doing that now.” 

Speaking about life on the Pro tour, Saurav chuckles when he recounts his encounters with Gregory. “We all miss Gregory on tour but none of us miss playing him and feeling the pain of playing against him. That’s why it’s so nice to have him on the same team for the first time.”

Apart from the usual suspects, 14-year-old Anahat Singh joins the team too. “I was shocked when I made it to the senior squad. I can’t believe I get to play with the seniors like Dipika and Joshna because I’ve grown up watching them play.” 

However, she says she’s excited to play in Birmingham. “My ultimate aim is to become world champion and world number 1, one day.” The teenager, one of the youngest in the Indian CWG contingent has won the Asian Junior championships, US Junior Open and has been ranked number 1 in the country ever since her under-11 days.

The Indians will face stiff competition from New Zealanders Coll and King , England’s Sarah Jane Perry and Georgina Kennedy and Joel Makin and Tesni Evans of Wales, with all of them being ranked in the world’s top 10, barring Evans who is in the top 20.

FULL SQUAD
Men’s singles: Saurav Ghosal, Ramit Tandon, Abhay Singh
Women’s singles: Joshna Chinappa, Sunayna Kuruvilla, Anahat Singh
Women’s doubles: Joshna Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal Karthik, Sunayna Kuruvilla & Anahat Singh
Men’s doubles: Ramit Tandon & Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu, Velavan Senthilkumar & Abhay Singh
Mixed doubles: Saurav Ghosal & Dipika Pallikal Karthik, Joshna Chinappa & Ramit Tandon
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