Top Indian youngsters set to feature in Open Squash tournament

The organisers have also included a Mixed U-9 category, in which an eight-year-old boy can play with a girl of his age.

Representation image   -  S. R. Raghunathan

Some of the top junior players of the country will feature in the third Indian Classic Junior Open squash tournament, which begins on August 11.

To be held at the squash courts of the iconic Bombay Gymkhana club, the tournament committee has already received 513 entries for the championship. To be played in five categories — U-11, U-13, U-15, U-17, U-19 for both boys and girls — the tournament will also see participation of one Colombian player, Sebastian Arisitizabal, in the boys U-11 category.

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This being an Asian Squash Federation’s gold event and a five-star tournament on the Indian junior squash circuit, most of the players who represented India in the recently concluded World Junior Championships will be seen in action. The focus, however, will be on Neel Joshi — who will be playing in the boys U-17 category — and Yash Fadte, who will be in the boys U-19 category.

In the girls’ U-19 category, Telangana’s Amita Gondi, Madhya Pradesh’s Radhika Rathore will be the ones to watch out for.

“The total prize money for the tournament will be Rs 7 lakh. There will be equal prize money for both boys and girls,” the championship director, Sumeet Rewari, said.

To make the tournament more interesting, the organisers have included a special Mixed U-9 category, where an eight-year old boy can play against a girl of his age. “This will give the youngsters a chance to play the game and enjoy the atmosphere,” Rewari said. This category, however, will not be a competitive event.

The finals for all the categories will be held on August 15.

A few days before the Indian Classic begins, the Bombay Gymkhana will also play host to the 43 Maharashtra State Men’s tournament—which will begin fromnext Monday (August 6) and get over on August 9. With a total prize money of Rs 5.25 lakh — for five categories — the tournament will have local boy and India international, Mahesh Mangaonkar, as the top seed. Gaurav Nandrajog and Abhishek Pradhan will also feature in the tournament.

Mumbai-based Mangaokar is currently the India No. 3, and he will be the star attraction when the event gets underway next week.