It was a memorable year for squash in India highlighted by some grand performances at multisporting events. In a watershed moment for Indian squash, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa teamed up to win a historic women’s doubles gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. It was soon followed by an unprecedented Asian Games gold medal when the Indian men clinched the yellow metal at Incheon in the team event.
Asian Games takes Indian squash to a new high
In the singles summit clash Saurav briefly flirted with the gold medal before going down in a heartbreaking five-game loss to Kuwait’s Abdullah Kh Kh H M Almezayen. But it was the spirited show in the team event especially by Saurav, that made the headlines.
In the semi-finals, the team faced Kuwait and Ghosal got a chance to avenge his singles loss to Abdullah in another exciting 5-game encounter. In the opening singles match of the final versus Malaysia, Harinder Pal Sandhu played a brilliant match to stop the challenge of Mohamad Azlan Iskandar.
Ghosal then put up a phenomenal effort to beat an inspired Ong Beng Hee, a two-time Asiad gold medallist. After an 88 minute gritty contest, Saurav added another feather in his cap – an Asian Games gold medal.
The women did generate some negative publicity at first with Dipika Pallikal threatening to pull out after being placed in the same side of the draw as Joshna Chinappa. The two Indians met in the quarters and it turned out to be an electrifying contest. Dipika finally got the better of her teammate in 5 games to secure a bronze which was India’s first ever Asiad squash medal in women’s singles. In the semis, she lost to the World No. 1 Nicol David who has not lost an Asiad singles match since 1998.
In the team contest, the girls squared off with the mighty Malaysian team for the Gold Medal match. Malaysia was too experienced for the Indian team and we had to settle for silver.
Commonwealth Games – Gold For the Joshna – Dipika pair
Earlier in the year, Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa captured a historic gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The girls put up a fearless display that saw them stun the top seeded English pair of Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro. Their memorable campaign also included an upset of the formidable Malaysian duo of Nicol David and Low Wee Wern.
Saurav too put up a commendable performance at Glasgow as he became the first Indian to reach the singles semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games.