15-year-old girl becomes first Chandigarh squash player to feature in World Junior ChampionshipJune 5, 2018, Chandigarh
On Monday, as the Squash Rackets Federation of India announced the five-member Indian team for the WSF World Junior Squash Championship to be played in Chennai next month, 15-year-old Chandigarh player Jannia Singh was practising at the Chandigarh Club under coaches Vikas Nayar, Saurab Nayar and Amitoj Singh. Jannia, who has so far won three titles in the SRFI U-17 junior circuit, became the first Chandigarh squash player to feature in World Junior Championship and will be the second youngest member of the Indian squad. The Indian team was selected after five-day trials from May 24 to 29 at Indian Squash Academy, Chennai.
“Playing in Chennai at this time of the year is always a challenge as the weather is hot and humid and the trials for the world championship were scheduled for five days. Last year, I missed the spot in Indian team for the world championship to be held in New Zealand. This year, I was eager to improve my game and to become the first Chandigarh player to get selected in Indian team for World Junior Championship is a motivational boost for me. The trials in Chennai also meant that I experienced playing at Indian Squash Academy, which will co-host the world championship,” said Jannia, who is a student of Class 11 at Carmel Convent School, Chandigarh.
Jannia, whose father Amanpreet Singh is a businessman, started playing squash in 2008 along with her brother, who also appeared in the Indian team trials for World Championship in boys’ category. The youngster, who won a silver medal in U-11 category in sub-junior squash championship in 2012, won her first title on the SRFI circuit when she won the Bengal Junior Open in U-15 category in 2014. Jannia again won the Bengal Junior Open title in 2016 before winning Delhi Junior Open in U-17 category. She has also played for the Indian team thrice in the Asian Junior Championship with her sixth-place finish in U-17 in last year’s Asian Junior Championship in Jordan being her best performance. Last year in December, Jannia claimed the runner-up trophy in 74th CCI Western India Open in Mumbai.
“After I won the Bengal Junior Open for the second time, the title win in the Delhi Junior Open in U-17 category gave me a lot of confidence. I was 13 years old at that time and winning in U-17 category made me realise that I can win at national circuit too. The World Junior Championship will see players from more than 30 countries competing. It will be my second tournament in U-19 category. I will be training under my coaches and along with my brother Inderjeet Singh at Chandigarh Club before the Indian team’s training in Chennai,” said Jannia, who idolises Indian player Harinder Pal Sandhu.
Coach Saurab Nayar believes that adjusting to conditions in Chennai will be the key for Jannia. “It’s a big achievement for a player from Chandigarh to get selected in the Indian team for World Championship. Her biggest strength has been her fitness. Mostly, the Indian team comprises players from cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, which has more than 12 courts. The World Junior Championship matches will also be played in glass courts in a mall and getting used to those courts will be a challenge for Jannia,” said Saurab.