Articles of Raju Chainani (1999)
crash to 0-3 loss
PENANG: Egypt took just 51
minutes to brush aside India 3-0 and enter the semi-finals of the ninth
World Junior Women's Team Squash Championships.
Today, Egypt play hosts
Malaysia who had a hard fought 2-1 win over Australia. The second
semi-final features England and USA. The four-time champions beat Germany
3-0 while USA continued their giant-killing run with a 2-1 defeat of New
Omneya Abdel Kawy dropped
just six points in her 14-minute win over Joshna Chinappa. The best of the
Indian trio was Supriya Balsekar who gave Sara Badra tremendous fight in
the first game before bowing out 9-7, 9-1, 9-3 in 20 minutes. Amna El
Tarabolsy cleaned up for the defending champions with a 9-4,9-4 win over
Vaidehi Reddy but this was for the record books and will show that the
rubber lasted 17 minutes.
" Egypt were a far
superior side," said coach Rajiv Reddy. He was also concerned over
Chinappa's form. "She has been off the boil in her last few matches.
But I must say that Omneya was just too strong for her. We were pleased
with Supriya's performance. We meet Australia tomorrow in the play-off for
positions 5-8. It's going to be tough but our girls are under no
By Raju Chainani
ANTWERP, August 7 JACELYN
Hawkes rallied from a game down to defeat Vaidehi Reddy in the deciding
rubber of New Zealand's tie against India in the 8th
Championships. Hawkes might well have lost the second game where she
Instead, she forced her way
back and won 5-9, 9-7,9-1, 9-2 after half an hour. This gave the Kiwis a
2-1 and it should be good enough to see them finish in 17th position
overall, with India ending up 18th and Wales at the bottom of the pack.
Catherine McLeod, had beaten Pia Abraham 10-9, 9-1, 9-3 in 28 minutes with
the Indian unable to convert two game-ball in the opener. The Kiwis have
former international Philippa Beans, winner of the world doubles title, to
guide them and it made a huge difference. Auckland 1, Chennai 0 was the
scoreline as Deepali Anvekar came on court.
The Mumbaite recovered from
4-6 in the first game and went on to beat Jennifer
Anvekar won in 33 minutes.
Her opponent turns 19 the day
after the tournament concludes and has just made the cut.
The tie hinged on Vaidehi
Reddy's match with the 17-year-old from Auckland. Interestingly, Hawkes
was born in Hong Kong where her mother has qualified as a world referee
but has chosen Auckland as her home.
She has had a fair amount of
international exposure and the three-year age difference told as the match
progressed. "Our girls tried their best. It is their first world
championships and they would have learnt a lot," said manager Rajiv
Had the basic drill of
playing the ball deep and to a good length been persevered with, the
Indians may well
By Raju Chainani
THE finger of suspicion
points firmly in Cyrus Poncha's direction as the person responsible for
the mess in the seedings and entries for the junior squash events held in
the metropolis during the last couple of months.
Denying a deserving junior a
place, using different guidelines for seedings when the facts arc there
for all to see, putting out news of the event on the website which turns
out to be different to what actually transpires and making the draw behind
closed doors. These are some of the major issues which are threatening to
disrupt the progress of the game.
Guess who was the tournament
director in these events? Poncha. The explanation doing the rounds speak
"It was a committee
decision," is the easiest excuse. But who made up the committee? Were
there any vested interests like the daughter of a committee member?
Joshna Chinappa was seeded at
two in the girls under-19 and at three last week. Despite clear cut wins
over the girl placed above her, she was denied her rightful place. Did
Poncha bow to pressure? When the Chinappas asked him about the information
put out on his website, he was silent on the matter. Maybe he had been
watching the famous Anthony Hopkins film.
It is common knowledge that
there are some major differences between the Chinappas and the Squash
Racquets Federation of India. Joshna was dropped from the world junior
team and one of tales of the unexpected was about, "Cyrus Poncha
threatening to resign if she was included."
For a major junior event,
such personal grievances must be left behind. Things should be transparent
and all this cloak-and-dagger stuff needs to be put in the cold storage.
Poncha is apparently flavour-of-the-month
with the SRFI. He's being persevered as coach despite some strange
His manner of functioning as
tournament director at junior events has left a sour taste. Was it sheer
coincidence that certain players found themselves in the same half of the
draw? Rahil Shah was denied entry in the under-17 event because "Poncha
felt he was not good enough". The sad part of it all is that Poncha
apparently has the backing of a select few who did very little during
their term of office but have suddenly acquired a PhD in bad-mouthing
others and trying to disrupt the progress of the game in the metropolis.
Poncha was given a reprieve
by the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra after he apologised for
his earlier antics.
The latest round indicates
things need to be addressed on a war-footing. Poncha should be made to
answer for his actions and then shown the red card. And, the juniors who
are dancing to his tune should be told in no uncertain terms that they
must toe the line or face disciplinary action.
Diwali is still a month away.
But the firecrackers are needed now.
goes down again
By Raju Chainani
ANTWERP, August 4 INDIA
foiled to make the French connection in their concluding Pool C tie at the
8th World Junior Girls squash championships,
Pia Abraham was a point away
from putting the Indians ahead but squandered two matchballs in the fourth
game, the second of them a generous "no-let" call putting her
back in the service box. Adelaine Legeay did the Houdini act and after 49
minutes, there was a pall of gloom in the Indian camp as the score read
8-9,5-9, 9-0. 10-8, 9-4 Deepali Anvekar's fitness continues to be a
question mark. Her right thigh had a strapping again and for her too, it
was a case of missing out on gameball it happened in the second game and
Leetita Estoumes went on to a 9-6, 10-8, 9-2 win after 45 minutes to seal
Vaidehi Reddy had a similar
experience. She led 3-0 and 5-3 in the opener against Stephanie Murat, had
another chance at 3-0 in the second and made a late rally from 4-8 to
level in the third. The mush wasn't there and the 18-year-old French
number two's win, which took 27 minutes, rubbed salt to the wounds.
Vaidehi, who turns 14 later this year, has time on her side
She was playing the rubber
that was inconsequential. Perhaps the efforts of her colleagues had
girls no match for Egypt
By Raju Chainani
ANTWERP, August 3 THREE very
skillful young ladies from the land of the pharoahs made the Indians dance
to their tune. Egypt kept their unbeaten slate in Pool C at the Eighth
World Junior Girls squash championships with a 3-0 dismissal of debutants
India, the tie lasting 45 minutes.
Engy Kheirullah, beaten
semi-finalist in the individual event, made Deepali Anvekar look
leaden-footed in her 9-3, 9-2, 9-1 victory which took 18 minutes. With
Omneya Abdel Kawy, the Egyptian number one, being rested. Kheirullah was
promoted and she did her job clinically.
Nesreen Nashaal. the Egyptian
number four, played Supriya Balsekar. The Mumbaite had her first taste of
the world team championship and found the going tough. Nashaat won 9-3,
9-0, 9-1 in 14 minutes and when she came oft court, she suggested, "Supriya
is so cute, I wanted to play a little longer."
Iman El Amir had lost to
Kheirullah in five games in the quarter-finals of the individual. She had
Vaidehi Reddy as her opponent yesterday. It was an easy game for the
Egyptian as the 9-1, 9-1. 9-3 score-line which took 13 minutes indicates.
The Indians should take heart from the fact that Egypt made their
international debut in 1993 and it has been after six years that they have
come up with such a young, well-balanced and strong squad. The Egyptians
have been training for this event since March and came her four days early
to get acclimatised. It is a lesson for our team to learn.
India play France in their
concluding Pool C tie today. They need to win to move into the play-offs
for positions 9-16. A loss would put them in the IT-19 bracket with the
wooden spoon on offer. There is little to choose between France and India,
going on what has transpired in the ties each country has played so far.
The Indians need to sort themselves out for this crucial tie. Hopefully
the directions from the think-tank, which have so far been way off target,
will come good today.
By Raju Chainani
KUALA LUMPUR, January 29 THE
Indian boys won both their ties on the opening day of the 9th Asian Junior
Team Squash Championships. They beat Japan 3-0 in the morning but
struggled against Sri Lanka, the tie ending dramatically with Abhijit
Kukreja being disqualified at 8-8 in the decider for "vomitting on
court and thereby making it unfit for play".
Parth Doshi and Anshul
Manchanda won their respective matches in straight games but the boys from
the Emerald Isle had sent a clear message to the Indians that they are no
longer to be regarded as minnows. The girls had mixed fortunes, drubbed
003 by hosts Malaysia but came good in the evening with a 3-0 win over
Undoubtedly, the talking
point this evening was Hirantha Gunasna's win over Kukreja. "Conduct
match award" is the technical term used. In the decider, the Indian
had worked his way from 0-5 to level at 6-6, saved two match balls at 7-8
and a forehand drop winner made it 8-8.
Sadly, he threw up and
referee Yap Kok Four had no option but to enforce the rule. The Indian was
furious and claimed it was just flem that came on court. He really has
only himself to blame, having led 2-1 and looking to be in control.
Gunasena's 6-9, 9-5, 1-9,
9-6, 8-8 (match awarded) came in the inconsequential rubber and ended a
two and a half hour tie. Never-before have the Lankans even India such
Parth Doshi was impressive in
his 9-5,9-0,9-0 win over Kavinda Cooray in the opening match but Anshul
Manchanda was severely tested by Navin Samarasighe before he came through
9-4, 9-7, 9-5. The Indian's patience won him the day and it turned out to
be very important for his team.
The Indian boys had begun
their campaign in Pool A with a resounding 3-0 win over Japan. Between
them, Parth Doshi, Abhijit Kukreja and Mihir Kapoor conceded just 14
points their Tokyo based opponents.
The Indian girls notched up
their first success defeating Japan 3-0. Rhea Bhandare surprisingly
dropped a game to Nagisa Miyagishima. The Mumbai girl had established a
two game cushion but lost her way in the third. It was far from
encouraging and she eventually won 9-4, 9-1, 3-9, 9-4 in 22 minutes. Pia
Abraham defeated Mayo Kudoh 9-4, 9-0, 9-1 in 13 minutes and Joshna
Chinappa brushed aside Eriko Chiba 9-2, 9-2, 9-0, her short stint on court
lasting 14 minutes.
India rested their number one
their morning encounter
against defending champions Malaysia in the girls
team round-robin. The Malaysians gave Asian champion Nicol David a
breather but even then, they were too strong and experienced
for the young Indian team.
Abraham managed two points in
her 11-minute stay on court, Joshna Chinappa lasted a minute longer
against Tricia Chuah but Vaidehi Reddy
kept Asian semi-finalist Daphine Ting going for
before bowing out.
The Indians need to sort
themselves out fairly quickly. Every coaching manual will tell you about
the importance of warming down after a match. It therefore came as a
surprise to see the boys coach Cyrus Poncha discussing matters with Doshi
immediately after the India number one had come off court. The Indian
junior, without a tracksuit top or any warm protection, was risking
catching a cold. Team manager Bhuvaneshwari Kumari observed this and has
suggested she would take corrective action.
Results Jr. boys (Pool A)-
India beat Japan 3-0 (Parth Doshi bt Yasunori Ishwata 9-1, 9-5, 9-0;
Abhjit Kukreja bt Tomonori Minagawa 9-0, 9-0, 9-2; Mihir Kapoor bt Goh
Kobayashi 9-1, 9-4, 9-1). India bt Sri Lanka 2-1; Sri Lanka bt South Korea
2-1; Pakistan bt Japan 3-0,
Jr. girls (round-robin)-
Malaysia bt India 3-0 (Cheryl David bt Pia Abraham 9-1,9-0,9-1; Tricia
Chuah bt Joshana Chinappa 9-0. 9-1, 9-1; Daphine Ting bt Vaidehi Reddy
9-3. 9-1,9-1). India bt Japan 3-0; Singapore bt Japan 3-0; Hong Kong bt
Sri Lanka's Malaysia bt Sri Lanka 3-0; Hong Kong bt Singapore 2-1.
By Raju Chainani
ANTWERP, July 27
INDIA'S number one Deepali
Anvekar was comprehensively beaten by Nicola Clark (England) in the second
round of the 10th World Junior Squash Championships yesterday.
The 18 year-old England lass,
ranked at number four in her country, won 9-3, 9-0,9-2 in 28 minutes to
bring to an end the Indian challenge in the main draw of the individual
event. Anvekar started well and led 3-1 in the opener.
She could manage just two
points from this stage and the result was really never in doubt. Clark
kept up a tidy length and the Indian, playing with strappings on both
thighs found it difficult to cope.
Anvekar's colleagues Pia
Abraham, Vaidehi Reddy and Supriya Balsekar were involved in plate matches
yesterday afternoon. Balsekar lost 9-6,9-4, 9-5 to Kira Petersen (Denmark)
but must be kicking herself for allowing a 5-1 lead in the first game to
slip through. Worse was to follow as the petite Mumbaite was 4-1 ahead in
the second and 4-0 in the third.
The Chennai duo of Pia
Abraham and Vaidehi Reddy won hard fought encounters, both matches going
the distance. Abraham beat Adelaine Legeay (France) 8-10, 9-4, 6-9, 9-7,
9-5 in 57 minutes. She idled when in front and it very nearly proved
costly as she lost the opener after having led 8-6 and in the fourth,
allowed Legeay to fight back from 1-7 to 6-8 before closing the game with
a forehand crosscourt. It was 5-5 in the decider before Abraham put
together three winners, the last a tight backhand, ending this match.
Roddy's opponent was
15 year-old Lauren Selby.
Reddy did well to win the
first game, having trailed 6-8. She lost the second mainly due to her
tentative play and the pattern continued in the third. But, she had a very
easy time thereafter as Selby tired. The young lady from Brentwood, Essex
was huffing and puffing. The former came through 9-8, 5-9, 3-9, 9-2, 9-1
after 50 minutes.
The main draw of the
individual event is down to the last 32 stage. The Asian challenge is very
noticeable as four Malaysians and Akanksha Hazari, Hong Kong's number one
and Indian national under-19 champion, remain in the thick of the action.
Abraham in quarters
By Raju Chainani
ANTWERP, July 29 PIA Abraham
recovered her composure, saved two match balls and went on to defeat
Scotland's Sara McDonald 9-6, 7-9, 9-3,4-9,10-9 in 61 minutes to enter the
quarter-finals of the Plate Event at the 10th World Junior Girls Squash
She looked in command at 8-4
in the decider but almost blew it. It was a very creditable win for the
Chennai lass, who has improved with every match. Her colleagues, Deepali
Anvekar and Supriya Balsekar were at the receiving end Australia's
Felicity Good all beat Anvekar 6-9,9-0,9-3, 9-2 in the (lassie Plate with
the Indian unable to maintain her initial advantage.
The discipline was missing
and the 16-year-old Aussie won quite comfortably in the end. Ireland's
Siobahn Parker was too good for Balsekar in the Consolation Plate, the
9-4,9-0,9-0 scoreline a clear reflection of what happened on court.
The Indian quartet has been
involved in matches everyday so far and Abraham remains as its lone
survivor. They badly need the practice and the acclimitisation with the
team event due to start on Sunday.
In the main draw of the
individual event, there were dazzling performances by Malaysia's Nicol
David and Leong Siu Lynn, the number one and three seeds respectively as
they eased their way into the quarter-finals.
David defeated England's
Jenny Duncalf 9-2, 9-1, 9-1 in 15 minutes. David had beaten Jenny Duncalf
twice at the British Junior Open, but their last encounter went to four
games. It was a situation the top seed wanted to set right and she did it
in devastating style.
"She was all psyched up
for the match. She hardly put a foot wrong. Nicol has not had any pressure
on her at this event. In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, she reached the
quarters but it was a different situation," said Malaysian coach
David has lost a total of
just 13 points in her three matches so far. In today's quarter-final, she
plays Canada number one Runa Reta. Reta's parents are from East Africa and
she has her roots. "Somewhere in India. I don't really know
where." Reta, winner of the US and Canadian Junior Opens, defeated
Nicol David's elder sister, Cheryl 9-7,9-4,9-4.
Cheryl had fought back well
from 4-6 to inch ahead at 7-6 in the opener and had briefly led 4-2 in the
third. But the stronger Canadian had the answers and for her efforts,
comes up against another David today.
The 1996 Asian seniors
champion Leong Siu Lynn raced to a 9-6, 9-0, 9-2 win over England's Amina
Helai in 22 minutes. Siu Lynn 's backhand was working like a charm as she
ran up a 5-2 lead in the opener. A couple of loose strokes and a bruise on
the right leg, saw the scores level at 5-5. Thereafter, the Malaysian
picked up the pace and left no doubt over her superiority.
MUMBAI, November 20 CAPTAIN
Navneet Narain won the Indian Express sponsored CCI Open Squash
Championships of Western India with a 9-6, 5-9, 9-4, 9-2 scoreline against
Major Rajdeep Brar. It turned out to he a battle of attritional with
Narain proving to he the fitter. Brar, five times winner of the Services
championships, also competes in the over-35 events and hard as he tried,
it was his younger opponent who went on to become the 56th winner of this
With no disrespect to these
two who showed they were the best in the field, the standard of squash
this week is a far cry from the days that some well known Armymen like
K.K.Hazari, K.S.Jain, Pran Handa, M.S.Swaminathan, Raj Manchanda, Narjit
Singh and V K Paul graced the CCI courts. It was in the early 1980s that
Manchanda won and since then, the Services really haven't thrown up
somebody in the same class.
Mekhala Subedar (Women's
Open), Junaid Nathani (under-17) and Jay Bhagat (under-11) had won their
respective events at the HSBC Maharashtra State Championships last week.
They made it an encore at the CCI courts though Subedar and Nathani were extended. The Deolali lass
dropped the opener to Mumbai's Deepali Anvekar but the buck stopped there
as she came through 7-9, 9-2, 9-1,9-3 in 55 minutes.
Nathani needed five games to
stave off Neeraj Tomar in the under-17 final.
His two game cushion was
neutralised and he had to dig deep to win the fifth. Nathani, the top
seed, eventually prevailed 9-5,9-4,5-9,7-9, 9-6 in a match that lasted
just over an hour and a half. Nathani was involved in the under-19 final
too. The efforts of his long match with Tomar took their toll and his
compatriot Mihir Kapoor went on to a comfortable 9-6.9-4. 9-1 win.