Bengaluru, May 6: In a rare first for India, Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa won the individual titles in the Asian Squash Championship held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Ghosal, the top seed and finalist last year, ensured there was no slip this time when he downed the fourth seed Leo Au Chun Ming, also of Hong Kong, in straight games 11-9, 11-2, 11-8.
Chinappa, the second seed, successfully defended her title, beating the top seed Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 in the summit clash.
An unprecedented feat that eluded the Indians in Chennai two years ago became a reality in Kuala Lumpur.
"Winning two titles is an achievement that has come for the first time.
"I congratulate Saurav and Joshna and wish them more success in their endeavours in the future," Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) Patron N Ramachandran.
National coach Cyrus Poncha praised the winners: "What was missed two years ago has been done for the first time. It is a massive achievement."
Ghosal never allowed anything to go astray as he meticulously worked his way to a convincing win. Except for the first and to some extent in the third, there was little that the Hong Kong player could do in terms of a fight as Ghosal covered himself with glory, his maiden success at this level.
"Happy to win the Asian title for the first time. I had come close in the past but didn't cross the line then. So it's hugely satisfying to finally win it for India. Overall a good week of squash for me squash wise. Great day for India and hopefully this will lead to further success in the near future," Saurav tweeted.
ASIAN CHAMPION 2019🏆🏆🏆1st title for me :) 1st Indian male to win! @joshnachinappa15 & I win both for India 🇮🇳 definitely a special day! Big thank you to my family, team, sponsors & all well wishers. This is one is for you all :) :) #history pic.twitter.com/a9gcoAp6wk— Saurav Ghosal (@SauravGhosal) May 5, 2019
It easily was one of Joshna's most memorable matches. Only last month in the Macau Open, Annie had beaten her in straight games for her 12th win in 20 meetings between the two.
In fact, not since September 2017 in the Hong Kong International Open has Joshna tasted success against the Hong Kong player. All that was set aside as the Indian played with a fixity of purpose and with lot of conviction.
She slipped in the second to send jitters in the Indian camp but recovered superbly to beat all of Annie's designs and carve out a win.
"I thought I really played well in the final. I had lost to Annie few times prior to this. So I had come prepared, and the court and the conditions helped. More importantly I found the length and that was the key and yes I am very happy to defend the title," Joshna said after the win.