Squash has never been one of the sports India has focused on. Though the Indian duo- Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa bagged a Gold medal in the Commonwealth Games 2014 and Indian Men’s Squash team brought the finest laurels in recently concluded Asian Games 2014, squash is quite unable to raise a vibe among Indian young generation. Though Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), the governing body of squash in India, conducts National Squash Championship every year, but squash fails to gain popularity even like shooting or boxing.
Let’s meet India’s top 5 squash players of recent years-
1. Joshna Chinappa
Joshna holds the record of being the youngest women to be national squash champion. She also won the British Squash Championship title in 2003 in the U19 category. Back in 2004, she had brought gold for the nation from SAF games in Pakistan. She defeated England’s Sarah Jane Perry in a thrilling final to win Chennai Open title in 2012. Joshna clinched her maiden World Tour title at Winnipeg, Canada early this year. After her superb gold-winning doubles performance in CWG 2014, Glasgow, she is now focusing for the upcoming Asian Games, Incheon where she is optimist about winning a medal at least in her individual event.
2. Dipika Pallikal
Dipika has recently hit the headlines for winning the gold with Joshna, but it is not the first time when she has made India proud. Trained in the ICL-TNSRA academy along with most of hercontemporaries, she reached her career best ranking (10) 2012. Dipika’s first WISPA (Women’s International Squash Players Association) title was the Orange Country Championship in Irving, California in 2011. Later, she won Crocodile Challenge Cup in Hong Kong and reached the quarter final of the World Open the same year. She received Arjuna Award (2012) as the first female squash player, and also became the recipient of Padma Shri (2014).
3. Sourav Ghosal
The first Indian male squash player to hit the top 20 rankings, Sourav Ghosal bagged India a couple of bronze medals in both individual and team events in Guangzhau Asian games. Sourav was the first Indian to be junior World no. 1. He entered into the quarter final of the World Open in 2013 where he faced a narrow defeat to Ramy Ashour. Sourav performed well in CWG 2014 but his lose to the British Peter Barker crushed India’s hope of winning the first CWG medal in men’s squash events. He overshadowed the failure by winning silver and helping Indian Men’s Squash team win gold medal in Asian Games 2014.
4. Ritwick Bhattacharya
Ritwick made a wonderful achievement of staying at national no. 1 male player for 10 years. He was the runners up at the World Doubles in 2004 with Sourav Ghosal as his partner. Ritwick was the recipient of Rajiv Gandhi State Sports Award (2003-04) for best sportsperson. He was the Junior U-19 champion in both 1998, 1999 and Indian national Champion for 5 times (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005). Ritwick has a national record of winning 9 PSA titles. An interesting trivia about him is that he became Runners up in the reality show “Fear Factor”.
5. Siddharth Suchde
During his study in Harvard University (2003-2007), he had the opportunity of becoming the national champion of the college level squash. His only PSA title came in 2008 Regions Racquet Club Pro Series. Siddharth lost 2005 Chennai Open final to the Indian top seeded Ritwick Bhattacharya. He also became runners up in 2009 BC open and 2007 Saskatoon Boast. His career best ranking was 39. In 2012, he founded the online sports e-commerce company Liveyoursports.com.