The Indian men and women players continued their golden run by beating Pakistan in both the team finals of squash at the South Asian Games in Guwahati on Thursday.
With this, the squash competition ended and for all the melancholy that engulfed the Indian camp after the individual competitions where the men had finished with just two bronze, medals vanished as things turned around for an historic finish. For the first time in the SAG, India was able to win the honours in both the men’s and women’s sections. In all, India finished with three gold medals overall out of the four at stake.
The man in focus today was undoubtedly Saurav Ghosal, who had to do the star act and the highly rated player showed his ability in no uncertain terms in sweeping aside Nasir Iqbal’s challenge in three straight games. After the fall in the individual event, Saurav was doubly careful that a repeat should not come about.
Playing with great control over his drives and volleys, the Indian had the Pakistan opponent in knots before long. Number three players were the next to come out as per the day’s order of play. Ravi Dixit thus faced Danish Atlas Khan and even though he did well to take one game, he could not sustain the pressure long.
With one match all and a deciding third next came Kush Kumar on view to face Farhan Zaman. It was not an easy equation for India but Kush rose to the occasion splendidly. Only in the third game did he struggle a bit, even trailed 7-9 but a fighter that he is, Kush clawed back and playing in the front court mostly put it across much to the jubilation of the Indian camp.
In the women’s section, again in an Indian-Pakistan affair, Joshna Chinappa came on to tame Maria Toorpaki in four games. After the eventful combat that the two had in the individual final earlier, Joshna appeared ready for the occasion. Though she suffered a momentary loss of touch, the Indian never let go the grip to make it 1-0. Sixteen year old Sunayna Kuruvillas big moment came next.
Against an experienced campaigner Sammer Anjum it was not easy. Nerves told as Sunayna seemed to lose way early but one thing this junior knows abundantly was to fight. She did just that, got her drives and cross court shots to make dents and the tussle went five games before Sunayna came up trumps and gave India the winning margin. Her famed cousin Dipika Pallikal thus did not need to enter the court.