Press Report of Raju Chainani 1992

Squash emerges from the ‘hole’

The Telegraph 14-7-1992

Glass-wall courts, graphite rackets and television coverage have transformed squash during the last decade. Increased sponsorship and the growing number of players have been but two off-shoots of  this phenomenon. Today there are over 10 million players spread over a hundred countries. The international circuit carries total stakes in excess of $2 million.

It was the advent of the all-glass court that really sparked off the revolution in the game. Wembley had seen the glass-back court attract the numbers, but the need to create more spectator space around a squash court hadn't quite been quenched.

As technology improved, the four wall glass courts made  their appearance. Very soon special lighting helped improve matters greatly, Television cameras made their debut, and in the last couple of years events like the world championships have been beamed to over 80 countries.

There had been problems with sighting of the ball on the idiot box. This played the way for a special fluorescent ball, white in color and easier to pick on television screens. Experiments continue to further develop this aspect and the next couple of years are likely to see more events being screened ‘live’.

The graphite invasion and the big rackets were on the anvil for some time. The big got Squash Rackets Federation (ISRF) restricted the hitting area last November to a maximum of 68 square centimeters. Other changes had also come through. The point a rally American scoring system has been used with good effect. It has ended the days of the long rallies, paving the way for attractive stroke play instead of attritional squash.

The last decade has seen the domination of the Khans.  Jahangir  took over from Geoff Hunt in November 1981 and remained unbeaten  at   the   British Open for the next decade. He won six world titles too, and it has only been in the last five years that he has been seriously challenged. That came from a wiry compatriot from Peshawar. Jansher won three world titles and, earlier this year, broke, his duck at the British Open.

The two Khans, particularly Jansher, may continue to dominate the squash world for some more time. But it has become increasingly evident that a powerful challenge is emerging from the Australians and some Europeans.

For most part of the Seventies, Geoff Hunt had reigned supreme. He was the complete squash player, and a splendid ambassador of the game. When Hunt finally retired, he left behind a big void in Australian squash.

In 1980, Hunt had won his fourth world open title at Adelaide. Eleven years later, his pupil, Rodney Martin, came up trumps at the same venue ended years of frustrating, wait for the Aussies, while Jahangir and Jansher dominated & Chris Dittmar, Chris Robertson and some others had come close, but never managed to get their hands on the gold.

Dittmar had actually been in four world Open finals, losing three to Jansher and the one to Jahangir. Even today, the Aussies occupy five of the top 10 positions, on the rankings, list but the No.l slot continues to include them. The Aussies have launched, big programme to boost their chances at the international level. The Australian Institute of Squash was set up in Brisbane and two of Australia's greatest players Geoff Hunt and Heather Mackay were asked to help develop talent Ken Hiscoe was appointed national coach, much on the same lines as Bobby Simpson in cricket. The results are already showing. In 1989, the Aussies won the world team title, beating Pakistan in the final. Last November, they retained the crown with an emphatic win over England.

A part from the world Open, the British A Open has been the  almost sought after title in squash. This has been so right from the days of Hashim, Roshan and Azam. England have attracted the best in the world and it has been some­what surprising that no British player, has consistently been at the top. Jonah Barrington, with some six British Open titles, was perhaps their best player. He has now taken on a new role as Director of Excellence.

Barrington's efforts to produce a British champion has seen the emergence of an effective development programme. Eight and 10 year olds are taught the ropes and now Simon Parke, Peter Marshall, Del Harris and others have made it into the top 15. They have some catching up to do with the Aussies, but there are clear signs that the British are on the right trail.

Elsewhere in Europe, Finland and Germany have shown their mettle. Squash has also spread into Spain, Italy, France and other countries. The Russians have asked for lessons. So too have some former Eastern Bloc countries. Major international events have become regular features in Europe. A good deal of professionalism has sat in and even the German league attracts top, international players now.

In Asia too, squash has made steady progress. Singapore Hong Kong, Malaysia and Pakistan are regular stops for the likes of Jahangir, Jansher and Dittmar. Last year's Pakistan Open had $100,000 on offer, It had government backing too. In fact, in Asian countries there is considerable support from the local and national councils.

Hong Kong's Abdul Faheem Khan is ranked No.26 in the latest world list, the highest position ever achieved by a player from this colony. Faheem, in fact, is Asia's  third highest ranked player, behind Jansher and Jahangir. It reflects a falling standard in Pakistan, as also the emergence of others in the continent.

Ladies squash has been dominated by Susan Devoy for the best part of the last decade. The petite Kiwi has kept her position as world No.1 for the last seven years. There was a time, in 1986, the year that Ross Norman beat Jahangir, that New Zealand has both world champions. Norman is still in the top 10 but there have not been many others to have come up from New Zealand.

The Australian ladies have always posed a dangerous challenge. Liz Irving, Michelle Martin, Daniella Drady and others have been in the top five. But they have not managed the perch at the top unlike he days of Heather Mackay, when the Aussies were considered invensible. Of late,  the Ausses have been challenged by the British. Martine Le Moignan, Lisa Opie, Susan Wright and Cassandra Jackman have been worthy adversaries. Many believe mat Jackman, the current world junior champion, will emerge as a future star. She is making life uncomfortable for the rest, including Susan Devoy, and in the next couple of years, could take over at the top.

As the game developed, other things have happened alongside, poping controls have come in. Although this does prove to be an expensive exercise, it has become a necessity. Regulations also make it compulsory now for players to attend the post match Press conference. They could get fined for not doing so.

The ISRF has been trying to spread the gospel of squash far and wide. Attempts are being made to get the game accepted as an Olympic discipline and this could become a reality at the 2000 Games. Meanwhile, squash was introduced to the South East Asian (SEA) Games last November and has got the nod for the 1995 Pan American Games. Kuala Lumpur, vying for the 1998 Commonwealth Games,   is   likely   to   accept squash as a discipline should their bid prove successful. The ISRF has its headquarters in Kuala   Lumpur   and   Tunku Imran, the president, is the son of    the    Deputty    King    of Malaysia.

Local hope stunned by Bombay pro

Mid-day 18/12/1992

MADRAS, December 18 BOMBAY GYMKHANA professional, Gopi  Mohite surprised leading local player, M Meyyappan to reach the quarter final of the Indian Bank National Squash Championships. Mohite won 3-9, 9-3, 2-9, 9-2, 9-7 and will, now meet Akshay Joshi tomorrow.

Bombay has its weakest representation at, this year's nationals. Out has to go back to 1969 to Calcutta where the advent of the Bangladesh war caused many of the top players to miss out and tennis are Akthar Ali won the event. Here, at the 39th nationals, it now become a case of Adrian Ezra fighting off the challenge from the services.

The defending champion took just 26 minutes as he swept Ben An Elias, 9-1, 9-0, 9-1. He faces I S Bains in the quarters. In match punctuated by traffic problems. Bains prevailed over Arun Ganguly, This was a late evening match and it kept refree Ali Ispahani, a former national champion, on his toes. Bains won 9-6. 7-9,9-5,9-3.

Ravinder Malik, the third seed, was too experienced and despite having to be tested by the occasional brilliance of Murugappan. He came though 9-0, 9-5, 9-5. He takes on the strokeplaying Narjit Singh.

Ezra, Arjan in final

Mid-day 20/12/1992

MADRAS, December 19 ADRIAN EZRA and Arjan Singh will contest the final of the Indian Bank National Squash Championships.

Ezra beat Akshay Joshi (Servi­ces) 9-4, 9-1, 9-0 in 33 minutes. In an all-Army affair, Arjan Singh beat Ravinder Malik 9-2, 9-1, 9-1 in 39 minutes.

The latter match was scrappy with the referee, AH Ispahani being called upon to make 32 deci­sions, five of which resulted in penalty strokes, while the others were called let.

Arjan led 4-0 in the opener. It had taken him seven minutes to get this far and there had been nine lets.

Malik appeared to be rather lethargic and couldn't get his act together. At 0-6 Malik wrong-footed Arjan with a superb crosscourt backhand, his first real stroke of some authority. He forced an error on the next point but thereafter hit two balls into the tin to give Arjan this game.

Malik was in better form during the second and third games. He missed out on winning volleys, particularly on the backhand and it proved to be costly. Malik won the first point of die third game, ending a superb rally with a forehand crosscourt.

Ezra started his semi-final convincingly. He was 5-0 up, having won the last point with a superb forehand that had Joshi going the wrong way. Three unforced errors from the defending champion saw Joshi at 4-6 but that's as far as he got.

Ezra kept the ball deep and was much quicker than the sailor. It was sad to see the SRAM secretary advising Joshi in between games. This could have a bearing on whether Ezra plays for the State team and a final decision will only be made tomorrow by the national champion.

Misha Grewal won the ladies' final with a 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 win over local girl Srividya Balinaswami.

 

Giving squash an impetus

Raju Chainani
The Hindu 9-5-1992

"Do you know how many Indians play squash overseas ? We have seen many international players but have rarely come across an Indian. I have been asked many a time why we cannot produce a top ranker", commented Anil Nayar. arguably India's greatest squash player He played for the country on several occasions. Back in 1965, he won the Drysdale Cup. the unofficial junior World Championship. Nayar won eight National titles, a record to-date He has tied in America and has been successful there. Three Inter-Collegiate titles, two U.S. Amateurs and victory in the North American Championships Even today, he competes (and wins) the over-40 age-group events Am! Nayar is a regular visitor to Bombay.

"I was born and brought up here. The CCI courts are a second home to me. This is the Mecca, as far as Indian squash is concerned", Nayar said Over the years, the game has developed rather slowly in India. A matter of politics and problems. Nayar had an idea and has now put his money where his mouth is. The Non Resident Indian Squash Association (NRISA) has been formed with himself and Yusuf Khan firmly behind it. 'We looked at the problems in Indian squash. Like the non-availability of graphite racquets or the difficulties experienced by juniors going abroad to tram and we felt that something could be done in this connection", said Nayar. In a few months time, the juniors go to Hong Kong for the world championships. "We are providing them with two Estusa racquets each and two pairs of shoes", he remarked. "You have to be properly kitted for a major event. Unfortunately, the top-of-the-line racquets and shoes are not made in India.

Squash shoes are particularly designed to give you the right grip and support. You cannot play in tennis shoes, as is being done by some of the players." he suggested. Nayar explained the role NRISA is likely to play. Essentially it was a non-political body and there was no conflict of interest. "We are helping areas where we feel that the SRFI has had problems. In effect this would take a load off their backs. Let me make it clear that we want the game to develop in India. We have asked Pah Madon to oversee the Indian side of things. He has been around for a long time and is well respected in the fraternity. More important is the fact that both Yusuf and myself have full confidence in him", remarked Nayar. It will not be a case of players asking for assistance. It will be the deserving who would be helped 'Otherwise it becomes a shopping trip and we don't want that situation to arise", suggested Nayar The NRISA was also helping the top Indian women. "Bhuvaneshwari Kurnan and Misha Grewal want to play in the world championships at Vancouver in October Yusuf has agreed to train them for a month prior to the event", he said. Nayar knows the value of Yusuf. the soft-spoken coach, who is today highly respected all over the world. He has had a knack of producing champions and when he left India in 1969. a void was created and it has not yet been filled. Yusuf

is sixty now but is still going strong at the Seattle Club. His affinity for India remains and time and again he has sent a racquet for some of his old friends Yusuf was a key player in Jahangir signing up for the Estusa racquets He has always wanted to do something for Indian squash and when this proposal was put before him, he welcomed it. Between him, Anil and Fall, there still exists a firm bond of friendship Now. the trio has set its sights on helping the game in India Nayar still believes that the world champion would come from "a village rather than a school or college".

It has been shown to good effect by our illustrious neighbours and there is no reason why we cannot do the same. Nayar gives the examples of many of our top juniors who got squash scholarships to America and are establishing themselves in the land of opportunities. "We have to look at the real reason why these boys left. More so. it was the academics which prevailed over squash. But. if you took on somebody from the village and assured him of an income, thing; could turn out differently. He would be dedicated to the game on a full-time basis and would have the satisfaction of knowing that a certain sum of money would go to his home each month If we could have the backing of somebody similar to PIA. there would be the chance to play in international competition regularly", said Nayar it's food for thought.

Defeat yes, dismay no

BY RAJU CHAINANI
Mid-day: 05-09-1992

THE COLOUR, culture and clockwork efficiency at the World Junior Squash championships will be remembered for a long time. Hong Kong were splendid hosts and the 24 teams that participated were given the red carpet treatment. India, debutants at this event, finished in fifteenth position in the team event.

There had been hopes of making the elite top twelve grade, a position that ensures direct entry next time around. With a proposed new format coming into being from November this year, India will have to go the regional route as one of the top three in Asia.

Looking back at what transpired during the fortnight is Suzy Wong country, the Indians promised much in the first week but were then found wanting. It isn't just a matter of being physically fit. Tournament and adaptability were required.

Paul Fererria can be good on his day. But this form eluded him at Hong Kong and he kept everybody on tenterhooks. This put additional pressure on the others since most of the team matches were played in a 2-1-3 order.

Rishad Pandole at number one, struggled in the later stages as a calf injury and tough opposition caught him out. Rishad Billimoria impressed many and like his colleagues, would have benefited considerably from the experience. He, along with Vineet Asthana. will be available for the 1994 championships allotted to New Zealand.

Between now and then, there's a lot of hard work to be done. It is the exposure that is most important. We went to Hong Kong woefully short on this front, all courtesy some strange administrative thinking. The boys played a few matches against a select senior squad in Bombay had few days in Kuala Lumpur en route where they took on the Malaysians, and then participated in the warm up event at Hong Kong.

Other teams like Egypt, Finland and Canada had planned out their strategy well in advance and their two and half years had put in considerable court. They had two 15 year old in their team and were good enough to humble us 3-0.

Hong Kong have full-time paid officials. There is considerable support from the government and the HSSRA has been able to find good sponsors. It is a professional set-up and the results speak for themselves.

This was a strong lesson. We cannot produce top level players if they are confined to participating only at club events here. The Indian circuit has very little to offer, therefore the juniors cannot improve to challenge the top Asians. We certainly have the talent. It is the planning, marketing and organisation that has been lacking.

Today, we are fortunate to have Ananth Nayak as the coach. He knows his job, is soft spoken but firm and at Hong Kong, made a very good impression with everybody. He has been with the boys for the fast eight months. Now it's time to build on this small foundation.

The quintet that went to Hong Kong were all Bombay boys. That is something to be proud of. Rather than make an extended autopsy of what happened at the World Juniors, let us take positive steps towards redressing the shortcomings.

This means setting out a development programme, finely defined and put together by those who know and those who care. We have to think positively and set out targets; ask ourselves why we finished lower than Argentina?

Maybe we were wrong in thinking that only Eva Peron, Diego Maradona and Gabriela Sabatini came from that part of the world.

INDIANS LET SCOTS FREE

BY RAJU CHAINANI
Mid-Day: 29-08-1992

HONG KONG, August 29 INDIA CAME perilously close to beating Scotland in the second stage of the Fuji Film World Junior Squash Championships. It wasn't good enough as Scotland won the first two rubbers and with it the tie.

Rishad Billimoria was on court for 57 minutes against Blair Christie. He started well, the backhand in particular working well as he led 6-1. The Scot is very fit and retrieves well. He made Billimoria run around the court and soon the errors began to creep in. Four tins were just what the doctor had not ordered and the advantage had slipped.

Billimoria was tiring and couldn't keep up the pace. He became erratic and it was soon match point to Christie. The Scot thought it was over and perhaps in his over-enthusiasm, got penalised twice as the score now read 8-8. He found the tin again and a superb backhand by Billimoria gave him the game. 

That was a splendid effort by the Indian but he was now almost on his knees. Christie took the fourth game easily dropping just one point. 9-7, 9-2, 8-10, 9-1 was the score as Scotland went one up.

Rishad Pandole must be wondering how his match slipped through his fingers. Cameron McMaster won the opener to love in just seven minutes with Pandole looking out of sorts. McMaster then led 2-0 before the Indian captain put his act on. The squash was a blend of good strokes, near misses and some of it was well worth watching.

Two backhand crosscourts by Pandole saw him in front at 5-3. McMaster replied with telling effect, going on the opposite flank and finding the nick twice. Pandole got a stroke to get to 6-4. A superb forehand volley made it 7-4 and Pandole showed he is just as good with his backhand volley too as he took this game 9-4. McMaster led 5-2 in the third, some careless play by the Indian left something in reserve.

Both players were showing signs of distress. Pandole surprisingly kept the ball on McMaster's forehand in the early part of the final game. This proved to be disastrous as McMaster had shown that he is very strong on this side. The Scot led 3-0 and from there on never looked back as he won this match, 9-0, 4-9. 10-9, 3-9, 9-1 after fifty-nine minutes.

What would have happened if Pandole had won that crucial third game remains a point to ponder. On came Paul Fererria and he started in splendid style against Matthew Morton. It was 9-1, 9-4 before the Scot could do anything. But the honeymoon was too good to last and Fererria lost the third and fourth game before taking a closely fought decider, 9-1. 9-4, 8-10, 2-9, 9-6 to India.

It was no consolation for what had transpired earlier. Now they find themselves in the play-offs for positions 13-16.

Results

Positions 1-8: Quarter-finals England beat Sweden 3-0, Canada beat Finland 2-1, Australia beat New Zealand 3-0, Egypt beat Germany 2-1

Positions 9-16: Hong Kong beat Ireland 2-1, Pakistan beat Argentina 3-0, Scotland beat India 2-1, Malaysia beat France 2-1.

Positions 17-24: USA beat Kenya 3-0, Singapore beat Switzerland 2-1, Spain beat Kuwait 2-1, South Africa beat Bermuda 3-0.

Indians fumble at French hurdle

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 29-7-92

HONG KONG, August 29 IT'S THE battle for the Ashes tomorrow in the final of the Fuji-film World Junior Squash Championships.

England did the Houdini act against Canada who really must be wondering how they lost when it seemed all over, bar the shouting. Justin Rennie and Chris Clare were both 0-2 down in their respective matches and fought back superbly to win.

In the second semi-final, Australia easily beat Egypt to make their seventh consecutive final in the world team event.

It was another disappointing day for the Indians who yd again had a good-chance to beat France.

Instead they lost 3-0 and will play Ireland tomorrow to decide the 15th and 16th positions.

Out on court 18, India failed to make the French connection. Paul Fererria should have won the opener against Thierry Lincou.

Coach Ananth Nayak was at a loss for words at the 7-9, 9-7, 9-1, 5-9, 9-5 defeat in just under an hour. Half an hour later, it was all over as the French No I outclassed Rishad Pandole. There was some resistance by the Indian captain in the second game which he lost over extra points.

Christop Montagnier's 9-0, 10-8, 9-1 win gave France the tie. They completed the day with Renar. Lavigne adding to India's misery as he recovered from a 1-2 deficit to beat Rishad Billimoria, 7-9, 9-6, 6-9, 9-4,9-1.

It was a sad sight 10 see the Indian looking leg weary and playing some rather loose squash.

 

HICCUPS AND HEROICS FOR INDIA

BY RAJU CHAINANI
Mid-Day: 28-08-1992

HONG KONG. August 28 PAUL FERERRIA'S lackadaisical approach almost cost India a vital match against Kuwait in the Fujifilm World Junior Squash Championships. India eventually won the tie 2-1 but there were plenty of tense moments, particularly in Fererria's match.

His opponent, Ahmed AI-Majid, is sixteen years old and is the Gulf champion in his age group. The match had an oh-so-familiar beginning. Ferreira was 6-1 up. a couple of winners on each flank getting him there.

Instead of finishing matters off, he tried the spectacular and the results were disastrous. The advantage disappeared and he faced game-point as an attempted backhand boast never got very far.

Ferreira tried again, this time with success as his backhand volley found the nick. Service changed hands an agonising five times before Majid erred and the nineteen-minute game ended. The Kuwaiti was never in the third game when he won just one point. 1-9, 9-7, 9-1 to Ferreira after 42 exasperating minutes. Had he lost the opening game, one can only wonder what may have happened.

Just how important Fererria's win was can be underlined by what happened next. Rishad Pandole was up against the Kuwait number one, Faisal Sarkho In 36 minutes, the Indian had been shown the door as Faisal completely outclassed him.

Faisal won the opener 9-2 in six minutes, the second game 9-3 in fourteen minutes and despite some fight from Pandole in the third, took it 9-6. That made it a tie apiece and everything hinged on the decider.

Rishad Billimoria was far too experienced for the fifteen year old Ahmed Al-Sultan, winning 9-4, 9-1, 9-0 in nineteen minutes and ensuring that India qualify for the play-offs for positions 9-16. Ahmed hits the hall with tenderness, almost as if he was caressing it.

Tomorrow, India play Scotland and a win here should ensure that they finish in the top twelve and thereby get direct entry into the top pools for the 1994 championships. While all this was happening. Pakistan were being humbled 3-11 by Australia, a result that means’ that they are now in the play-offs for positions 9-16.

RESULTS

Group A: England beat Egypt 3-0. Finland beat New Zealand 3-0. Scotland heat Ireland 3-0
Group B:
Australia beat Pakistan 3-0 Germany beat Malaysia 3-0, Canada heat Sweden 2-1
Group C:
India beat Kuwait 2-t Hong Kong beat Switzerland 2-1 USA beat Bermuda 3-0
Group D:
France beat Kenya 3-0 South Africa heat Spain 3-0 Argentina beat Spain 3-0

 

INDIA CRUSH BERMUDA

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 27-8-92

HONG KONG, August 27 INDIA TOYED with little Bermuda, winning 3-0 in less than an hour us the round-robin group matches at the FujiFilm World Junior Squash Championship reached their concluding stage.

Bermuda, with a population of less than 60,000 has just 300 players in the country. They have only one club at the Bermuda Squash Rackets Association. The lour courts at the club were the venue for the recent Carribean Junior Championship where Bermuda won three medals. Here, it was a different kettle of finish.

Three players failed to score a point against Hong Kong and with the Indians, it was a similar story. They managed eight points between them and the only thing one had to do was to admire their fighting spirits.

It has cost the Bermudans US $15,000 for this trip. That's an awful lot of money but they believe it's been worth it.

Last night Rishad Billimoria started the rout by beating eleven year old Nicholas Kyme, 9-0, 9-0 9-0. Rishad Pandole won 9-2, 9-2 9-1 against Melrindo Cames and Paul Fererria went through the motions as he beat the violin player, Chris Darrell 9-1 9-2, 9-0. Coach Ananth Nayak chose to play the same team perhaps reminding them that they arc here to play serious squash and there should be no repetition of Tuesday night's fiasco. Today, India play Kuwait who struggled past Switzerland.

The Indians have to win this encounter to assure themselves of qualifying for the play off for positing 9-16. Finishing in the lop twelve here is of prime importance because it gives those teams direct entry into the next championship, scheduled for New Zealand in August 1994.

The ISRF have announced the new guideline for future world championships where a maximum of 24 teams would be allowed to compete. In addition to the twelve who get direct entry, the remaining dozen will come from Europe (4), Asia (3), Africa (2) and one each from Oceania, Pan-America and South America.

This is something for the Indians to aim at, having done reasonably well so far. There was no excuse, though, for the defeat by Hong Kong.

Now they have to put in a good showing against Kuwait who cannot be under-rated. Their third string, Ahemd Al-Sultan was thought to be schoolboy material hut he won a five game affair with Switzerland's Robin Straub which enabled his team to score a surprise victory.

Faheem Gul Kuwait's coach, has been around for some time and has been associated with a few top Pakistanis, He feels India will be hard to beat but so did the Hong Kong coach. Chris Clark.

It is sad to see this causal attitude from our boys. This however is a team effort and coach Ananth Nayak has been making that message get through clearly. They all have to get down to the idea of winning and not playing for the gallery. India has beaten Hong Kong comprehensively at the last Asian juniors and should never have lost . Anyway, that is water under the bridge now and a win today will in some    ways    make    up    for    this disappointment.

Meanwhile, Pakistan were humbled 3-0 by Germany. The highlight of this encounter was splendid performance by the German number one Edgar Sehneider who beat Mohammad Sadiq 9-2, 8-10  8-10 9-3 9-3.

Pakistan have so far been blanked by Canada and have struggled to beat Sweden and Malaysia, they now play the Aussies in their concluding match tomorrow Egypt continued to impress, this time with an emphatic 3-0 win over New, Zealand.

It's their fourth successive win in the group and they take on hug-land today, in a match that will decide who will top their section.

RESULTS  
Group A: England beat Scotland 3-0. Finland beat Ireland 3-0 Egypt beat New Zealand 3-0.  
Group B: Australia beat Sweden 3-0; Germany beat Pakistan 3-0 Canada heat Malaysia 3-0.  
Group C: India beat Bermuda 3-0. Hong Kong beat USA 2-1: Kuwait beat Switzerland 3-0.  
Group D: France beat Singapore 3-0 Argentina beat Spain 3-0; South Africa beat Kenya 3-0.

 

INDIA STRUGGLE TO WIN  

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 25-8-92

HONG KONG, August 2 THE SCORELINE read, India Switzerland 0. It is a very deceiving one because there were plenty of heartaches en route to the India success. Both Paul Fererria and Rishad Pandole had their work cut out and were taken the distance by fairly ordinary opponents.

Fererria's ability has never been in doubt but he tends to let his concentration waver and it almost cost him and India the opening match. He started beautifully against Jan Harms and was hitting winner after winner. It was 7-1 in the opener, courtesy three backhand and two forehand winners.

Who would have imagined that he would keep finding the tin with regularity and let the game slip through. He had a chance at 8-4 but his forehand volley was wayward. Harms took his chances, got a penalty stroke at 7-8 and a lucky service nick took the game into extra points.

Fererria's love affair with the tin wasn't quite over yet. There were two more such strokes to come as Harms took the opener 10-8. A repeat performance was in store. This time Harms led 5-0, three of those points courtesy the generous Indian. A backhand drop by Fererria got him to 2-5 and a superb boast on the same flank got him closer.

Luck was with the Swiss number two as his serve again found the nick and now he was 2-0 up. He led 4-2 in the third and it looked all over. The Fererria touch had been sadly missing all along. He got to 4-4 with a penalty stroke another made it 6-4 and suddenly the complexion of the game changed.

Fererria   hit   a   beautiful   backhand boast and then, following a - fine rally, tucked away a forehand volley to make it 8-4. World he falter again? A forehand drop hugged the wall. Harms couldn't return it and there was some relief in the Indian camp.

Harms was tiring and a casual forehand return into the tin had him facing match point. Fererria was not to be denied this time as his backhand volley was too good and ended this 73 minute encounter, 8-10, 8-10, 9-4, 9-4, 9-3 to the Indian who for the second day running has been rather fortunate to escape.

Rishad Pandole was on next, his opponent being the Swiss champion Marcel Straub. Pandole started badly, being 1-6 down. A forehand volley and three unforced errors by Straub made it 6-7.

It wasn't good enough, particularly because of the careless play that followed and Straub was one-up after fourteen minutes. Pandole got to 5-2 in the second game with a superb forehand crosscourt nick. He went the other way at 6-2, equally well-executed stroke. But, Pandole at gamepoint could not convert and Straub won five points in a row and suddenly it was 7-8.

Straub lost his serve and then put a backhand out of court to give Pandole the game. The Indian led 4-2 in the third, should have gone to 5-2 but was disallowed a penalty stroke that looked fairly obvious. No let was given, much to the surprise of all, including the Swiss team manager.

A night backhand drop by Straub was very reachable and as he failed to clear the path of the ball. Pandole had to ask for a let. Surprisingly, none was given and it gave the game to straub at 9-7. Pandole was upset, quite understandably. He came out firing and six winners saw him wrap up the fourth game without dropping a point. They were tied together at 3-3 in the decider.

Straub inched ahead at 5-3 with a backhand winner. Pandole's serve was called down.

Straub was tiring and three errors gave Pandole the match. 6-9, 9-7, 7-9, 9-0, 9-5 after 59 minutes. True, he had some bad decisions but on balance, he did not produce the sparkle he is capable off.

Rishad Billimoria toyed with Robin Rambo Straub, winning 9-2, 9-3, 9-1 in half an hour. The Indians play Hong Kong today on the championship court.

Results:

GROUP A: England heat New Zealand 3-0; Finland beat Scotland 3-0; Egypt beat Ireland 3-0.
GROUP B: Australia beat Malaysia 3-0, Pakistan beat Sweden 2-1, Canada beat Germany 3-0.  
GROUP C: Hong Kong beat Bermuda 3-0; USA beat Kuwait 2-1. India beat Switzerland 3-0.  
GROUP D: France beat South Africa 2-1; Singapore beat Spain 2-1, Argentina beat Kenya 3-0.

 

Scrappy show by Indians

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 24-8-92

HONG KONG, August 24 INDIA STUTTERED and stumbled en route to a 3-0 win over USA in their opening encounter in Group C at the FujiFilm World Junior Squash Championships.

Paul Fererria was first on court taking on Jason Jewell. The three o' clock start was something new for our boys (the Spanish, who were on the adjacent court had missed their siesta). Overall, it was a lethargic and unimpressive performance by the Indians. Paul Fererria was moving about as if he was in the Hong Kong Park, which incidentally is right behind the squash centre.

Fererria led 3-1, 5-3 and 7-5 in the opener. He kept making errors and his strokes lacked punch. He did find the nick with a forehand crosscourt to give him gamepoint and a sweet backhand went scuttling across the court to put him a game up after fifteen minutes.

Jewell made error after error in the second game where he failed to open his account. There were four occasions when his attempted volley found the top of the tin with Fererria stranded. Now it was the Indian's turn to reciprocate. He was penalised early, then made three unforced errors and the American led 5-1.

Back came the Fererria touch and a forehand crosscourt followed by a superb backhand got him level. Another delightful volley, this time on the forehand saw him 7-5 ahead.

It was 3-3 and 4-4 in the fourth game before Fererria decided to put the finishing touch on the 49 minute encounter. 9-5, 9-0. 7-9, 9-4 to the Indian and plenty of homework to do for the morrow. Out came Rishad Pandole, the calf injury having responded well and he was up against Mir Moshen.

Pandole took just seven minutes over the opener which he won 9-1. He was penalised twice in the second came for service errors, the ball being deemed to have been below the line. From a comfortable situation at 4-0 and 7-3, Pandole suddenly encountered rough weather. He was caught out wity a couple of tight forehand drops and had a penalty point awarded against him as the score became 7-7.

It was all over. 9-1, 9-7, 9-6 to Pandole after forty-four minutes.

It was time for Billimoria's 'Midsummer's Night Dream'. By the time he actually woke up to what was happening around him, Jack Wyant had won the first game 9-3 in ten minutes. Rishad Billimoria had to out the stops now and he began getting into the match slowly.

The Bombayite forced a forehand error; hit a delightful backhand crosscourt and then saw Wyant's return go out of court. 3-9, 9-3, 9-5, 9-5 to Billimoria after 61 minutes.

POOL RESULTS :
GROUP A: England heat Finland 3-0.New Zealand beat Ireland 3-0.  Egypt beat Scotland 3-0.  
GROUP  B:   Australia  beat  Germany 3-0, Canada beat Pakistan 3-0, Sweden beat Malaysia 2-1  
GROUP C: India beat USA 3-0, Hong Kong beat Kuwait 2-1, Switzerland beat Bermuda 3-0.  
GROUP D: France beat Argeblina 3-0. Spain   beat  Kenya  3-0,  South   Africa beat   Singapore 3-0

Juniors were below par

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 24-12-1992

MADRAS, December 24 IT'S THE traditional battle between the Services 'A' and Maharashtra 'A' in the final of the Indian Bank Inter-State Squash Championships.

Despite spirited performances by M Meyyappan and V Laxman, the Services proved to be too strong for Tamil Nadu 'A' as they won 5-0. India's top two juniors, Paul Ferreira and Rishad Billimoria, were disappointing in the other semi-final in which Maharashtra 'A' beat Services 'B' 4-1.

Today it is the Services who will start favourites. They are up against a young Maharashtra side.

SOMETHING TO CROW ABOUT!

BY RAJU CHAINANI
Mid-Day: 19-08-1992

HONG KONG, August 19 CANADA'S JONATHON Power underlined his claim to be regarded as a leading contender for the world junior squash crown with a whirlwind 9-1, 9-1, 9-3 win over C Montagnier (France).

The Canadian took just 21 minutes over his demolition job. He had missed the warm-up event last week and preferred to stay back to prepare for this instead.

The winner of the warm-up event, Australia's Gavin Kadwell, is seeded fifth here and he needed to pull out a few stops before prevailing over. Markus Koppitz (Germany).

The match went to four games and Kadwell. having looked good in the first two, had to shake of the blues as he made the last 16 stage with a 9-1, 9-2, 3-9, 9-2 win.

Having been bundled out of the main event, the Indians were confined to the Classic Plate. They performed with credit last night, against opposition who were expected to win.

Vineet Asthana beat the Irish No 2, Neal Murphy, 9-5, 9-4, 9-3. He won comfortably enough, considering that Ireland arc amongst the fancied teams in next week's event.

Asthana has not yet learned how strict referees are with awarding penalty points and there were times when his inexperience showed.

Paul Ferreira's win over Ville Varryynen (Finland) was something to crow about. The Finn is ranked at No 4 in his country.

Along with team mate, Juha Raumolin (the top seed in the individual event), the Finns are strong contenders for both the titles here.

Hence, Ferreira's win should give our boys considerable encouragement. 9-6, 9-5, 9-7 after just 28 minutes was a vast improvement on the lethargic display by him Monday night.

Equally, Rishad Pandole had a fine win over Frenchman, Renan Lavigne, showed that on balance we are capable of challenging the Europeans.

Pandole won the opener easily but was lackadaisical in the second. He was a trifle lucky in the third which he scraped through at 10-9 and that seemed to finish off the Frenchman. 9-5, 1-9, 10-9, 9-0 to Pandole after 41 minutes.

Out, on court 8, little Rishad Billimoria was taking on the New Zealand No 2, Matthew Clarke. They shared the first two games and there was plenty of excitement in the third.

Billimoria trailed initially, caught up at 7-7 with a delightful backhand volley and then had gamepoint. He was a trifle unlucky with some decisions which appeared to upset his rhythm and Clarke edged to a 10-9 success in this vital game.

Both players appeared to be tiring thereafter and the Kiwi proved to be just the fitter. Nevertheless it was a gutsy performance by the Indian and he has shown why he is being talked about as our best player here.

Today, Paul Ferreira has a chance to avenge Billimoria's defeat. The Kiwis are seeded in the top eight in the team event and Billimoria's showing has certainly given our boys hope of better things to come.

Out on court, Pakistan's two southpaws made their way into the last sixteen. Mohammad Sadiq looked solid in an emphatic 9-4, 9-5, 9-2 win over Kiwi No 1, Chad Sunde.

Hamid Hussain needed four games and 62 minutes to account for Finland's Timo Tuominen, 8-10. 9-4 9-0 9-3.

Now it's heavyweight time and no-one knows that better than their coach, Umar Daraz Khan.

Dr Norman Gledhill, adviser to the International Squash Rackets Federation on doping control, said that 20 players would be tested during these championships.

They would be selected at random and only advised after the conclusion of their match. Dr Ciledhill pointed out that the most important aspect in the doping control was the actual collection of the samples. 

"People have to be especially trained for this. Otherwise, as you know, the top athletes turn up with lawyers and challenge the validity of the samples." he said. 

The samples taken here will be flown out to Montreal which is one of only 13 labs in the world accredited by the International Olympic Committee for doping control. 

"It is an expensive exercise. Each test costs US $250 and usually the analysis can be done in 24 hours. It is the actual flying out of the samples that does take the time when the country where the tests are carried out does not have an accredited lab," he suggested. 

Today, Dr Gledhill conducts a workshop with the players and officials.

Triumphant Jansher at his best

BY RAJU CHAINANI
Mid-Day: 05-09-1992

SINGAPORE, September 5 JANSHER KHAN put on a vintage performance as he destroyed Brett Martin in the final of the Anchor Singapore Open Squash Championship. 15-4, 15-6, 15-9 was his winning scoreline in a match which lasted just 38 minutes.

Both began cautiously, playing the ball deep and close to the glass walls. Jansher's backhand crosscourt sent Martin the wrong way and he was off the mark.

The rallies were long. After four minutes it was 2-2 as Jansher found the nick with a forehand volley. He went from 3-3 to 8-3 in one hand, a couple of strokes helping en route.

Martin sliced a backhand crosscourt into the nick and that really was the only latitude Jansher allowed him. The world No 1 won the next seven points, the last three courtesy Martin 15-4 to Jansher in just 13 minutes.

Jansher raced to 4-0 in the second game. Martin wasn't able to control proceedings as he likes to do from the center of the court. Jansher's retrieving had the packed house at the Bavtree Centre enraptured.

This was Jansher at this best, keeping the opponent back and moving him around. Jansher got to 7-2 with a glorious backhand crosscourt volley, lie tried a boast for variety and it had Martin stranded.

The Aussie tried his luck at 10-4, saw Jansher stroll back almost leisurely and flick the ball back off the glass wall.

Jansher returned the compliment and a loose return by Martin off the backwall was thumped into the nick to make it 13-5. He then wrong-footed the Aussie, the backhand crosscourt disappearing into the deep to give him the game at 15-6.

The seventh successive victory in this event was only minutes away. Jansher waltzed around the court and was volleying quite beautifully.

Martin wasn't done for yet. Three winners, the last one a superb backhand crosscourt, sliced into the nick, made the score 9-14. Jansher went down the line on the forehand with a service return and all that Martin could do was put the ball into the tin.

There was some joy for the Martin family though, when Michelle won the ladies final, beating England's Sue Wright 15-13. 17-16, 15-10 in 42 minutes.

And so, Jansher goes back with the trophy he's made his private property. As for Michelle Martin, it was a case of third time lucky.

 

Four Indians in second round

BY RAJU CHAINANI
Mid-Day: 17-08-1992

HONG KONG, August 17 (UNI) FOUR OF the five Indians marched into the second round of the Fuji Film World Junior Squash Championships yesterday with Paul Ferreira carrying out his victory in style.

Ferreira prevailed over Ireland's top seed Barry Hession, 10-9, 9-1, 9-2. He saved a gamepoint and gradually wore down his left-handed rival.

It was a field day for the Indians with the only disappointment coming from Ben Ari Elias who went down against German Markus Koppitz.

Rishad Pandole beat Jerome Goudio of Hong Kong 9-1, 9-0, 9-5 in just 16 minutes he now meets Pakistan junior champion, Mohammed Sadiq. Rishad Billimona scored and equally emphatic win as he trounced local player Wo Wong, 9-5,9-3,9-1.

The other Indian victory came from Vineet Asthana who beat a British player in four games.

Today, the Indians have much tougher opposition in the second round. Billimoria mets the fourth-seeded Australian, Joseph Kneipp, Ferreira is drawn against Edgar Schneider

 

Joshi to meet Ezra in semis

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 19-12-1992

TOP-SEEDED Adrian Ezra will meet Akshay Joshi whilst Arjan Singh takes on Ravinder Malik in the semi-finals of the Indian Bank National Squash Championships. It took 106 minutes of fairly ordinary squash to decide the last four and reiterated the significance of the missing top Bombay juniors.

Ezra was first on court tonight. He took 23 minutes over beating I S Bains, 9-0, 9-4, 9-0. The defending champion was too quick for his opponent. What was noticeable was that he was not happy with his length.

There was much expected of the Ravinder Malik and Narjit Singh encounter. They have had some protracted battles in the past and tonight, it was felt that there would be some fireworks. Instead Malik won 9-4, 9-2, 9-2 in just 25 minutes.

Arjan Singh beat Rajdeep Brar 9-1, 9-4, 9-7 in the last match on the championships court.

Misha Grewal, the top seed in the ladies event, is through to her second national final. She easily beat Bangalore's Vasumati Srinivasan 9-0,9-3, 9-0.

Local girl Srividya Palaniswamy had a convincing 9-1, 9-0, 9-7 win over the fancied Sumangali Krishnan (Bombay).

 

  Squash's merry men

[By RAJU CHAINANI]
Mid-day 19-7-1992

ANIL NAYAR, Darius Pandole, Farokh Pandole and Adrian Ezra. Four of a kind. Ivy League, brilliant squash players, soft-spoken and well respected. There was plenty of gold and glory lor them whilst in India. The trails-Atlantic journey to Harvard University was to reap in even more laurels. Nayar began the trend, way back in the late sixties. The Pandole brothers. Farokh and Darius have come through with flying colours. Today, Adrian Ezra is carrying on in very much the same vein.

Squash to them is a way of life. They have given much joy to the audiences. When Anil Nayar joined Harvard almost twenty-five years ago. he was India's national champion. He had also won the Drysdale Cup. the symbol of supremacy in world junior squash. In the land of opportunity, he was to become one of the greats. Nayar won the Inter-Collegiate three times, the US Nationals and Canadian Amateur twice, and the Mexican Open once.

We only played hardball in those days. It was strictly on an amateur basis because during college days-you were not allowed in prize money events. I did later play in the North American Open and made the quarter-finals on three occasions. Hashim, Moibullah Senior and Sharif were dominating this event during that time, he remarked.

In his heyday, Anil Nayar was regarded as one of the quickest movers on court in the world. His strokeplay had an arrogant air about it. He was the Qamar Zaman of Indian squash. Today, Nayar is New York-based and still competes in the over-40, events. And he still wins major events in this age group, like the US Nationals. Also His record of eight All-India titles still stands.

Durius Pandole and his younger brother, Farokh, followed Nayar almost two decades later. There was plenty of squash blood in their family. Father Dinshaw Pandole, was a superb player and ranked amongst the top Indians during the Anil Nayar era. Darius won the National junior title in Jaipur in 1981, beating Meherwan Daruvala. He had a splendid array of strokes and it was no surprise to see him do well at Harvard. He won the US Softball Nationals in 1986.

Darius was equally adept at the American game and won the four major invitation events — the late Invitation, the Gold Racket, the William White Invitation and the Harry Cowles. It earned him a number one ranking in 1987, a splendid achievement. To be ranked as the top US amateur in softball in 1986, and then at hardball a year later, speaks for itself.

Farokh Pandole loves to wallop the ball. "The Thunderman" is 23 years old, three years younger to Darius. His six foot plus frame has enormous power. This year, Farokh won the All-American Status, an elite award in sport. He was just about to graduate and it is perhaps fitting that this fine player got his due recognition. Farokh had also won the Holt Bollington Invitational in 1990 and has been part of the Harvard team for the last four years.

The stage had been set for Adrian Fzra Three superb stroke players had preceded him and had done very well for themselves. With two National titles under his belt, Adrian had already became the youngest ever Indian to win this event, eclipsing a 23-year record established by Nayar in 1965.

Harvard saw him win the intercollegiate at both, hardball and soft-ball in 1991. The Boston Eye Opener, the Holt Bollington and the Yale Invitation were other successes in the 1991 season. Last year, Harvard's team was considered to be the best ever that had participated in the inter-collegiate. They didn't drop a match and both Adrian and Farokh were part of the winning squad. Now, Adrian remains to carry the torch.

They have together been four of India's best players. Anil Nayar set the ball rolling and the glory days have continued with the performances of Darius, Farokh and Adrian. It was a rare sight to see them together at the CCI this week. This was where it all began many moons ago. The four of them, still in great shape. The racket had done the talking. On the table outside, there was a leather-bound book. Its title spoke for itself. "What they don't teach you at Harvard Business School."

 

Baptism by fire!

BY RAJU CHAINANI
Mid-Day: 15-08-1992

HONG KONG, August 15 THERE WAS plenty of colour and culture as Governor Chris Pallen officially declared open the Fuji Film World Junior Squash Championships at the Hong Kong Squash Centre this afternoon.

Tomorrow it is all down to business as 64 first round matches get underway in the individual event.

For the Indians it is going to be a baptism by fire. Vineet Asthana plays Jago Nardell (England) Rishad Pandole plays Jerome Goulde (Hong Kong), Rishad Billimoria meets another local W C Wong, Paul Ferreira has to contend with Barry Hession (Ireland and Ben Ari Elias is up against Markus Koppitz (Germany)

The pundits predict an Aussie victory based on their impressive showing at the warm-up event at the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

The Indians have done quite well so far. They impressed the Malaysian national coach Major Maniam, in their warm-up game in Kuala Lumpur. 

They lost 2-3 to the Malaysians who are seeded seventh here. Paul Ferreira, Rishad Pandole, Rishad Billimoria, Vineet Asihana and Ben Ari Elias got through to the second round and later made the fourth of the Plate event.

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