Buoyed by Junior Championships title, Veer Chotrani out to scale greater heights

Following his Asian Junior Squash Championships 2019 triumph, Veer Chotrani now aims to excel at the world level.

Veer Chotrani beat the likes of top seed Siow Yee Xian, Pakistan's Harris Qasim and compatriot Yash Fadte to win the Asian Junior Squash Championships 2019.   -  Vivek Bendre

Boosted by his phenomenal performance at the Asian Junior Squash Championships 2019 in Macau, 17-year-old Veer Chotrani is now looking forward to taking on rivals from across the world.

“I have faced the competition in Asia and look ahead to tackle world-level players,” said Veer, who became only the third Indian after Ravi Dixit and Velavan Senthilkumar to win the U-19 boys title.

RELATED| Veer Chotrani crowned Asian U-19 champion

The son of former national men’s squash champion Manish Chotrani, Veer's fine show at the Asian championships saw him beat top seed Siow Yee Xian in the U-19 boys quarterfinal, Pakistan's Harris Qasim in the semifinal and cruise past fellow Indian and close friend, Yash Fadte, at the Macau final.

Veer Chotrani with the trophy after clinching the U-19 title in the Asian junior Squash Individual Championships.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Talking about the Macau showing, Veer said he was surprised by his form: “I did not expect to win. The competition was so strong, I wasn’t even the favourite, but I beat top players.”

Malaysia and Pakistan are strong squash nations and hence beating two players back-to-back was the highlight. “The quarterfinal against number one (Xian) was harder than the final.  I was 1-2 down, then fought back. Winning a nail-biting tie was encouraging,” he said.

Two weeks before the Asian events, he had participated in the Senior National Championships  in Pune and reached the men’s semifinal before going down to eventual champion Mahesh Mangaonkar. The latter is a pro, ranked 53 in the world and India men’s number two. “Playing against Mahesh made me realise that I have to improve,” he noted.

Being a father-son squash duo from the city comes with advantages and high expectations. Manish, an active player at 48, talked about Veer’s initiation. “From the time he was born, he has been at the squash court. When I became India number one, Veer was a year and couple of months old and watching a squash game. It is there in his blood and squash came naturally to him,” he said.

Manish, a former national champion, added that Veer would train under David Palmer. “Right now, he will be going to Cornell University to train under David Palmer, former world number one player. Veer wants to enter the pro circuit and win medals for the nation,” he said.
  
For Veer, competitive squash is about switching off and on. “I don’t take a lot of stress. I try to (be) relaxed going into a tournament, I watch movies or some other sport. I never think much about my opponent , but when I play the game I’m totally in to it,” he concluded.