National Squash C’ships: Joshna, Saurav crowned champions

Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal crowned themselves as the champions yet again in the final of the HCL 74th National squash championship.

Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa after winning the titles in Greater Noida on Saturday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal crowned themselves as the champions yet again as they tackled their energetic young opponents with considerable agility and craft in the final of the HCL 74th National squash championship at the Shiv Nadar University Indoor Complex here on Saturday.

It was a fitting climax to another fine edition as Saurav tamed Mahesh Mangaonkar 11-6, 11-13, 11-9, 11-6 in an entertaining contest that drew repeated rounds of applause from the excited stands.

“I am entirely happy winning another title, but full credit to Mahesh. He played very well. I could have done a few things differently, but I had to dig quite deep,’’ said Saurav, pleased with his 12th national title.

The strongly built Mahesh, a professional in the Hague, The Netherlands, who had lost to Saurav in another final in Jaipur, four years ago, gave himself the chances but repeatedly found the tin in dropping the last five points to Saurav in the tricky third game.

Thereafter, Saurav was unstoppable as he tackled the crafty game of Mahesh with a touch of assurance. It did not help Mahesh’s cause when

he hurt his knuckles on the right hand early in the fourth game and needed medical attention.

“In terms of quality, I think 2012 was my best performance. I thought I could do what I was capable. But, I am in the best physical shape now, and this title would rank along with it. I was happy with the rhythm and movement. Of course, winning the national title is just a starting stage, I am looking forward to the international circuit,’’ said Saurav, who collected Rs.1,50,000.

It was equal prize money for women, as Joshana Chinappa won her 15 national title, bringing out her best game when required against first-time finalist Lakshaya Ragavendran.

Lakshya lit up the proceedings when she executed her power play to clinch the second game, but that only provoked Joshana to be at her competitive best. It was a whirlwind finish.

“Definitely it was the best match in the tournament for me. She played well. II really focused on the third and fourth games to be at my best,’’ said Joshana, who is one title away from Bhuvaneshwari Kumari’s record of 16 titles.

“I need two more titles, if I want to beat her record. At the moment, I am only thinking about doing well in the international circuit, as I prepare for Shanghai’’, said Joshana.

Lakshya was happy that she could play her game, albeit only in the first half of the match.

“I played better today than the National Games final against Joshana in Kerala. It is a matter of experience. This tournament gives me a lot of confidence for the future,’’ said Lakshya, an architecture student of Anna University in Chennai, who collected Rs.80,000 for her effort.

Lakshya will be training to make the Indian team for the Asian and World championships.

Both Saurav and Joshana also said that they were looking forward to be in the team for the Commownealth Games and Asian Games next year, having done well very in the last edition.

 

The results (finals):

Men: Saurav Ghosal bt Mahesh Mangaonkar 11-6, 11-13, 11-9, 11-6.

Women: Joshana Chinappa bt Lakshya Ragavendran 11-6, 8-11, 11-2, 11-4.

Pro coach: Parmeet Singh bt Parthiban Ayyappan 11-3, 11-3, 11-5.

Veterans:

Over-35: Amitpal Kohli bt Rahul Pandit 13-11, 4-11, 11-9, 11-5.

Over-40: Saurabh Nayar bt Amit Chinai 6-11, 11-9, 7-11, 11-6, 11-4.

Over-45: Dalip Tripathi bt AshutoshPadnekar 11-5, 11-4, 11-3.

Over-50: Aashish Kamat bt Lalit Advani 11-7, 12-10, 11-3.

Over-55: Arun Rabindranath bt Oneill Michail Pramanik 11-6, 11-8, 11-6.

Over-60: Vaman Apte bt Rajiv Reddy 11-7, 11-6, 9-11, 11-3.