Joshna Chinappa spoke to Sportstar about her record-breaking senior National title win in June and on squash being excluded from the list of additional events for the 2024 Paris Olympics, among other things on the sidelines of the HCL-SRFI India squash tour, a PSA Challenger tour, at the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) here on Monday.
On winning her record 17th National title
I’ve been playing the Nationals since I was twelve years old. It is a tournament I have always looked forward to. I think it’s the most prestigious domestic tournament. Even though I have gone past certain (World) rankings today, I think it’s important as a player to come back and play the Nationals, no matter how far you go internationally.
And for me, to be playing the Nationals today even after 20 years since I first started, is very exciting. To still be able to compete with the girls in the circuit now, and even beat them is good for me, and I feel very excited that I can still do that.
I wasn’t aiming for it (the record). For me it’s just about playing the Nationals as many times as my body will let me play it. I mean, today, at 33 to still be playing... I really enjoy it.
On squash being excluded from the list of additional events for the 2024 Paris Olympics
This is a battle, I think, we’ve been having for a very long time. Trying to get squash in. It’s one thing to not be in the Olympics, but it’s another thing when you find other sports that you think "Wow how did that get in?". Breakdancing, wall climbing, and all kinds of other sports that just... you just can’t wrap your head around it, you know.
And so, it is very disappointing. Squash, I think, ticks all the boxes to be an Olympic sport and it’s just unfortunate that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) doesn’t see it that way.
And the funny thing is, we need Olympics in a way maybe the bigger sports don’t need it. And squash being a little bit under the radar, it would’ve given us a big boost profile-wise. But having said that, I do believe that the sport is really great on its own anyway. Like, with the best players, it is played in over 150 countries, and it is in the Commonwealth and the Asian Games. So, I think, we are just focusing on making the sport as exciting as possible.
On the road ahead
This season I’m going to be doing about 10-12 tournaments. So, I think it is going to be a tough tour. And I’m looking forward to trying to break into the top-10 again. I will be playing in the World Open in Egypt next week.