National squash from today

August 23, 2017

HCL 74th National Championship


Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa will begin as favourites

On the eve of the HCL 74th National squash championship which begins on Wednesday at the Shiv Nadar University campus here, the defending men’s champion Saurav Ghosal said it is his responsibility to compete and give the rest of the field, especially the juniors, a full field.

“When Harinder Pal Sandhu won the title in 2014, it was big deal,” said Ghosal.

Since 2004, only Ritwik Bhattacharya and Harinder have beaten him at the National championships; last year, though, it was Harinder Pal that Ghosal beat — in a five-game thriller — to win the title last year.

The women’s side will be without its defending champion; Dipika Pallikal withdrew on Tuesday owing to an ankle injury.

The beaten finalist from 2016, Joshana Chinappa — a multiple champion, will be here, though. Joshna has been winning the national title since 2000, and only Mekhala Subedar and Dipika have been able to deny her the title since then.

“Ever since I started playing the National championships at the age of 12, I’ve always wanted to come back,” said Joshna.

“I am not able to play more domestic events these days because of my hectic international schedule. I’ve competed all these years, and missed only the 2011 edition when I was injured.”

With 312 men and only 65 women having entered the championship this year, the question of equal prize-money came up at the press conference during the launch function here on Tuesday.

“The prize money does not matter to me,” said Joshna, who maintained that she would have participated anyway.

Ghosal said the global trend was towards equality, and added that equal prize-money would perhaps inspire more girls to take up the sport.

While the top-eight men will get into a knock-out draw of 16 with eight qualifiers who will emerge after a series of matches from among 300 players, the women’s tournament will follow a straight knock-out format.

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