INDIA EYE’S ASIAN JUNIOR SQUASH CHAMPIONSHIP

Chennai: The Asian Junior Squash Team Championship begins on 16th of January and India is all set to account on their possible chances that will come their way. The tournament is scheduled to be held in Pattaya, Thailand which will end on 20th of January.

India who has been a defending champion in the boys’ section two years ago in Hong Kong, is seeded fourth in the forthcoming Asian junior squash team championship. The girls’ who had finished sixth then have been seeded number three in the tournament. Out of the all 13 boys’ and 9 girls’ teams participating this term, Pakistan and Malaysia have been given the pride of place in seeding’s for the boys’ and girls’ sections respectively.

A couple of years back Velavan Senthilkumar was the shining star for India. The Chennai lad, who was then the Asian junior champion took India into the title round before ensuring the finale win over Malaysia for the title. But it has changed a lot since then as the Indian squad looks new. The current Indian squad consists of a recently crowned national junior Utkarsh Baheti, Veer Chotrani, Yash Fadte and Tushar Shahani. Also Utkarsh, Beer and Yash had already featured for India in the 2018 world junior championship held in Chennai. Though India couldn’t make any impact there, the experience of playing a tough opponent in a very competitive competition is what makes these boys valuable for India. On the other hand Tushar have been a regular campaigner in the junior competitions and is also ranked number one in the national circuit.

National coach Cyrus Poncha who is travelling with the side, is however confident on India’s chances in the tournament and feels that the boys will fight their way to the final. He said, “We have a solid team with a good depth. I would like to stick my neck out and say we will go all the way.”

The girls’ section is where India has to pull up their socks. Nations top two talents Aishwarya Khubchandani and Ananya Dabke could not be part of the squad as they had examinations and did not participate in the trials. The selectors decided to send National champions Sanya Vats (U-19) and Yoshna Singh (U-17) along with Amira Singh and Ananya Morey. Though the coach is well confident of his girls squad and feel that they will put on a great fight in the tournament.

The boys have been placed in Group D along with Korea, Iraq and host Thailand while the girls have been placed in Group B along with second seed Hong Kong, Singapore and Sri Lanka. “India has a fine chance of coming into the knock out phase and finish well overall,” Poncha said of the girls’ draw.

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