Champion Joshna ever hungry for more

Joshna Chinappa assures that she would continue to come back for the national championship in her pursuit to be the sole owner of the national record for the number of titles.

Joshna Chinappa, who has 16 national titles, won her maiden title at 14.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

When she reached the semifinals of the women’s event at 12, Joshna Chinappa’s target was to win her first national title before she was 16.

Today, the 32-year-old Joshna has already 16 national titles from 18 finals. If you thought that she achieved her target as planned, it would be wrong, as she won her maiden title when she was 14.

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Over the years, Joshna has improved to world standards to reach a career-best rank of No.10 in 2016, as against her current rank of 14.

"I feel on top of my game", said Joshna, as she savoured yet another title, on Sunday at the HCL Hub in Noida, when she regrouped her game quickly to suffocate Urwashi Joshi after losing the first game in the final.

Having grown up competing in the domestic circuit and having dominated the national championship for nearly 20 years, when she missed only one edition, Joshna feels at home competing in the premier championship.

"It is me. I grew up playing the championship, the CCI and other events. That is why I keep coming back. I want to be the highest", said Joshna, assuring that she would continue to come back for the national championship in her pursuit to be the sole owner of the national record for the number of titles.

Joshna Chinappa at the National Squash Championship. PHOTO: Kamesh Srinivasan

 

Bhuvaneshwari Kumari had dominated the circuit from 1976 to 1991, winning 16 titles on the trot. Thereafter, it was Misha Grewal for five years in a row, before Mekhala Subedar won three in a row.

Biggest battles

Joshna, who won her first title in 2000, did lose the two finals to Mekhala in 2003 and Dipika Pallikal in 2011.

"My biggest battles have been against Mekhala and Dipika. I know, everyone loves watching me and Dipika play. It is a shame that she is not here", said Joshna, as she acknowledged her healthy respect for Dipika who also reached a career best rank of No.10.

Things have changed for the better for Joshna in the last six months, as she joined a new coach Hadrian Stiff and a new physical trainer in England. She is happy with the way she has been competing against the top players of the world, looking forward to winning "these matches" rather than be happy with the close fight.

Having won seven titles from 14 Tour finals, Joshna is hungry for more. She feels that her better fitness would help in the season ahead to have a robust time in the professional circuit.

Irrespective of her success in the international tour, Joshna will be keen to get back to the National championship and win one more!

In fact, she is willing to play more domestic events, if the international calendar permits. At the end of a hectic season, which included the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, and that saw 12-time champion Saurav Ghosal skip the national championship, Joshna did have the courage to show up against some energetic young opposition and assert her class yet again.