ISP Squash

Videocon Squash Classic Men/Women/Junior & Professionals

  At Otters Club, Mumbai : 29.6.1997

Vijay Gautam (Collector, Mumbai), Udai Singh (Winner in Men’s Event), Narayan Rane (Revenue Minister, Government of Maharashtra), Mekhala Subedar (Winner in Women’s category), Narendra Gour (Director, ISP), Chandrakant Pawar (Winner-Professional’s category), Vaman Apte (President-SRAM) & Mahendra Agarwal (Founder Director, ISP) at the prize distribution ceremony held at Hotel Sea Princess, Juhu, Mumbai


Click here for more photographs

All Results

All Finals:


Udai Singh beat Akhil Behl 9-4, 6-9, 9-3, 9-2.


Rohan Bappu beat Gaurav Juneja 10-8, 7-9, 9-4, 9-7.

Mekhala Subedar beat Rhea Bhandare 9-3, 9-5, 9-0.

Chandrakant Pawar beat Gopi Mohite 10-8, 9-6, 9-6

All Semi Finals:


Udai Singh beat Paul Ferreira 9-3, 9-6, 9-1
Akhil Behl beat Manish Chotrani 3-9, 9-6, 9-0,9-6 
Bappu beat Rohan Juneja 9-1, 9-3, 9-5
Gaurav Juneja beat Amitpal Kohli 4-9, 9-3, 9-2, 9-7
Mekhla Subedar beat Deepika Chandratreya 9-1, 9-2, 9-0
Rhea Bhandare beat Sarita Jethwani 9-4, 9-4, 9-1
Chandrakant Pawar beat Ramesh More 9-1, 9-2, 9-3
Gopi Mohite beat Santosh More 9-7, 9-6, 9-6

All Quarter Finals:

Udai Singh beat Rishad Billimoria 9-4, 9-3, 9-1
Manish Chotrani beat Rajdeep Brar 9-2, 9-1, 9-7
Paul Ferreira beat Yogesh Panchal 9-2, 9-8, 9-2
Akhil Behl  beat Cyrus Poncha 9-3, 9-2, 9-0
Under - 19:
Rohan Juneja beat Parth Doshi 9-1, 7-9, 2-9, 9-6, 9-7
Rohan Bappu beat Aftab Mathur 9-5, 9-0, 9-3
Amitpal Kohli beat Gaurav Mittal 9-3, 9-2, 9-0
Gaurav Juneja beat Mihir Kapoor 9-3, 9-3, 9-0
Mekhala Subedar beat Deepali Anvekar 9-2, 9-1, 9-3
Chandratreya beat Farida Tata 9-1, 9-2, 9-3
Sarita Jethwani beat Jigisha Mehta 9-2, 2-9, 9-7, 9-6
Rhea Bhandare beat Aisha Shah 9-2, 9-0, 9-7

Santosh More beat Riaz Mohammed 1-9, 9-5, 9-1, 9-2
Ramesh More beat Rajesh Sonawane 10-8, 9-2, 9-7
Gopi Mohite beat Anant More 10-9, 9-5, 3-9, 9-1
Chandrakant Pawar beat Prakash Yelve 9-7, 9-5, 9-7


Press Articles of tournament : 


‘Squash pros to get govt support’
(Article in Free Press Journal, Mumbai : 2/7/1997)

Maharashtra revenue minister, Narayan Rane said squash professionals would get all support from the state government in respect of awards and housing facilities on par with other sportspersons. Speaking as chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony of Videocon Squash Classic here last night, Rane said the government would help promote the game to international standards.

Rane gave away the cash prize of Rs.15,000 to Mekhala Subedar, winner of women’s title while Chandrakant Pawar, winner of Professionals title while received Rs.25,000, Udai Singh, winner of the men’s title, and Rohan Bappu, winner of boys under-19 title got Rs.25,000 and Rs.15,000 respectively.

Chairman of the Indian Squash Professionals (ISP) and collector of Sindhudurg, Vijay Kumar build a sports complex in the government’s assistance for the Gautam said ISP was planning to mega polis and sought the state government’s assistance for the purpose.


Rane assures all support
(Article in Afternoon, Mumbai : 2/7/1997)

The Maharashtra revenue minister, Mr. Narayan Rane, said professional sportsperson would get all support from the government in the matter of awards and housing facilities. He was speaking on the occasion of the prize distribution of the Rs.4 lakh inaugural Videocon Squash Classic at Juhu last Monday.

The richest tournament staged by a non-official body, the Indian Squash Professionals, saw professional Chandrakant Pawar get the same prize money Rs.25,000 as the men’s winner Udai Singh.

Mr. Rane said squash was unknown to a lot many people and he welcomed the suggestion of Vijay Gautam, chairman of the ISPA, to build public courts to spread the game far and wide, Mr. Gautam, collector of Sindhudurg listed the achievements of the fledgling body the ISPA, saying that in a short span of three years it had staged nearly 25 events all over city.

On behalf of the player Udai Singh said the players needed such tournaments to motivate them to work hard and train all year round.

Squash Challenge
(Article in Times of India, Mumbai : 6/6/1997)

Squash in the city has received a big boost eight Videocon, the sponsors of the fourth National Games, sponsoring the Videocon Squash challenge to the tune of Rs.4 lakhs. The event will be held at the Otters Club, Bandra, from June 23rd to 29th .

Akhil Behl, Niraj Shirgaokar, Paul Ferriera, Rajdeep Brar and national runner-up Udai Singh are some of the big names expected to take part in this event.

Among the women India number two Mekhala Subedar of Deolali, and Mumbai’s Parineeta Chaudhary and Krishma Juneja will be participating in the tournament.

Evergreen Chandrakant Pawar will lead the challenge in the professional section. Santosh More, Anant More and Gopi Mohite will provide Pawar a stiff challenge.

The men’s and professionals winners will receive Rs.25,000 apiece, the women’s and the juniors (under-19) champion will get Rs.15,000 each.


JVPG’s Mehta downs Sapna, Kapoor trounces Soni Juneja
(Article in Asian Age, Mumbai : 26/6/1997) 

A stupendous performance by Jigisha Mehta of Juhu Vile Parle Gymkhana in the last game helped her return victorious from the brink of defeat, as women played their first round in the videocon Classic Squash organised by Indian Squash Professional, played at the Otters club here on Wednesday. Jigisha won 9-4, 8-10, 9-4, 5-9, 10-8.

Jigisha got of to a good start to stage a comfortable win game. She outplayed Sapna allowing her opponent just 4 points. There was a bit of excitement in the second game when Sapna, trailing her rival, recovered her touch to clinch the game and level the scores at 1-1.

However, in the third game Jigisha, taking an early lead, shored to 9-4 victory, putting enough pressure on Sapna to prepare herself for an easy victory in the fourth game. However, Sapna staged a superb rally squashing her opponents hopes of an early victory. She fought back to snatch the game when Jigisha was leading 4-2 and was on her way to victory. Sapna equalized 4-4.

The score being leveled, the game score dawdled at 4-4 for more than 5 minutes until Sapna not able to control her shot bumped into the tin giving Jigisha a chance to move ahead taking the score to 5-4. However, Sapna was able to back the serve and then did not give any chance thereafter and picked up points until she claimed a 9-5.

The last game failed to produce the right kind of intensity that could bring the spectators to the edge of their seats. Sapna picked up points at regular intervals and was leading at 5-1 requiring just 4 points to enter the next round. However, again the tin played the spoilsport for Sapna. Jigisha then managed to close the wide gap. Sapna again picked points and stood there knocking the doors of victory with 8-4.

Jigisha who had Boys category Mihir Kapoor defeated Soni Juneja in straight games, 9-1, 9-5, 9-0. However, the victory was not an easy for Mihir as the scores suggest. Mihir had to fight for every points even overcome the huge crowd support for Soni..

The seeded brothers Rohan and Gaurav Juneja offered tremendous support to their  sibling using all the tricks they possessed. However, nothing could deny Mihir a victory.

However, in the second game, Mihir felt the pressure. Leading 5-2, he lost his concentration and Soni, egged on by his supporters, took advantage to level the scores at 5-5. However, Mihir, showing good temperament, relieved himself from the pressure and bagged the second game 9-5, Mihir, continued in the same vein in the third game won the battle after 33 minutes.


Easy wins for Kohli, Juneja
(Article in India Express, Mumbai : 25/6/1997) 

Second Seed Amitpal Kohli and fifth seed Rohan Juneja moved into the second round of the under-19 boy’s event in the Rs. Four lakh Videocon squash tournament, here today.

Kohli blanked Vishwas Das 9-0, 9-0, 9-3 while Juneja had little difficulty in getting past Nitin Bhosle 9-1, 9-0,9-3 in the first round. Junaid Nathani, however, was stretched to overcome Kshitij Nowahar 9-6, 4-9, 2-9, 9-3, 9-6 to join Kohli and Juneja in the second round.

Shalok Melvani beat Suraj Shetty to enter the second round in another under-19 encounter. In a men’s first round clash, Cyrus Poncha got past Premal Javeri 9-0, 9-3, 9-7 while in a women’s first-round encounter Jigisha Mehta edged past Sapna Jalan with a hard fought 9-4, 8-10, 9-4, 5-9, 10-8 victory.

In two other women’s opening round matches, Farida Tata eliminated Nisrat Madraswala 9-1, 9-5, 9-7 and Supriya Balsekar beat Rashna Patnaik 9-5, 9-3, 7-9, 9-4.


Gaurav stuns Amit to make final
(Article in Free Press Journal, Mumbai : 29/6/1997)

Udai Singh and Akhil Behl will contest the men’s title as well as the top prize of Rs.25,000 in the Rs.4 lakh Videocon Squash Classic. Both made the grade with a measure of comfort at the Otters Club, on Saturday.

Udai Singh, the top seed, encountered little resistance from Paul Ferreira before winning 9-5, 9-6, 9-1, while Behl, though he lost the opening game, picked himself and went on to put out Manish Chotrani, 3-9, 9-6, 9-0, 9-6.

Earlier, 16 year old Gaurav Juneja stole the show when he downed second seed Amit Pal Kohli. It earned him a place in the boys under-19 final and gave him the chance to earn the biggest pay cheque of his young career, a whooping Rs.15,000.

A game down Gaurav fought back strongly to be home at 4-9, 9-3, 9-2, 9-7. In the second and third he was in full flow, establishing a lead of 7-0 in both. However, Kohli fought for all his worth in the fourth but Gaurav hung on to clinch the issue.

“I had not played a stiff match till the semi-final and I was feeling tired after the first game because I was not well,” Kohli commented.

Gaurav’s victory compensated for the loss of his twin brother Rohan, who was outgunned and outplayed by the tall and strongly built top seed, Rohan Bappu. It was only in the third game Bappu was tested but he made it it over a 1-5 deficit to win 9-1, 9-3, 9-5.

The women’s final will see Mekhala Subedar and Rhea Bhandare slug it out in the cage.

Mekhala, in her semi-final, was a too good for Deepika Chandratreya and was home, 9-1, 9-2, 9-0. Rhea Bhandare, just13, reached the women’s final for the first time with a 9-4, 9-4, 9-1 win over Sarita Jethwani.

The uncrowned king in the professionals arena, Chandrakant Pawar duly made the final, beating Ramesh More 9-1, 9-0, 9-2.

Chandrakant’s bid for the winner’s purse of Rs.25,000 will be contested by Gopi Mohite who followed up his victory over third seed Anant More on Friday with a 9-7, 9-6, 9-6 win over Anant’s brother, Santosh.


Bappu oust Rohan, meets Gaurav in final
(Article in Asian age, Mumbai : 29/6/1997) 

Rohan Bappu advanced into the final of the junior Boys Under-19 category, ousting Rohan Juneja in the semi finals of the Rs.4,00,000 Videocon Squash Classic Championship played at the Otters club here on Saturday. Bappu defeated Juneja in straight games 9-1, 9-3, 9-5.

However, the delineation of the match was completely different from the score-line. It was a well fought contest between the two player for a berthing the finals. Rohan who on Friday had clinched an unexpected victory over Parth Doshi, seemed to have jaded with the effort.

The match saw numerous appeals by the two players and also some argument with the referee Chandrakant Pawar. The first game that Bappu won 9-1 was no childs play. Even though he bagged points regularly he had to go overcome juneja’s energetic performance. Although Juneja claimed the only point when Bappu was with a comfortable lead of 7 points and on his way to bag the first game, the former did not concede an easy victory to his antagonist.

It was neck-to-neck combat between the two players in the second game. Juneja playing well enough, initially took the lead of 3-1. However, Bappu retaliated with unbelievable drops and also awarded in his  favour. Suddenly everything seemed to be going in Bappu’s favour. His drops and placings were unrivalled as compared to Juneja’s At times Juneja’s plea for a stroke-play was also turned down by the refree. Gradually Bappu’s tethered his opponent to surrender at the score-line of 9-3.

Juneja had to produced something exceptional in the third game, which was very crucial for him. Bappu played with excellence, taking an early lead of five points. He felt he had the game in his pocket but Juneja fought back with great vigour. He fought for every single point. Bappu missed some unexpected returns, hit the ball outside the court, couldn’t get hold of some of excellent drops, and all these small blunders helped Juneja equalize.

However, Bappu captured the serve back from Juneja when the latter was penalized for stroke play penalty when Bappu was serving for the game and match ball claimed victory and a furlough to finals of the championship.

In on other Junior Boys semi final Gaurav Juneja endured a thumping victory over second seed Amitpal Kohli. Gaurav will now avenge his brother’s (Rohan Juneja) defeat when he meets Rohan Bappu in the finals. He now has a chance to earn the biggest pay cheque of his career, a huge amount of Rs.15,000.

A game down, Gaurav fought back strongly to be home at 4-9, 9-3, 9-2, 9-7. In the second and the third he was in full flow, establishing a lead of 7-0 in both games. However, Kohli fought for all his worth in the fourth but Gaurav hung on to clinch the issue.

In the men’s first semi final Akhil Behl recovered from the first game defeat and bagged the remaining games (3-9, 9-6, 9-0, 9-6) to face Udai Singh in the finals. Udai defeated Paul Ferreira 9-3, 9-4, 9-4 win over Sarita Jethwani.

The uncrowned king in the professionals event Chandrakant Pawar duly reached the final, brushing aside Ramesh More, 9-1, 9-2, 9-3 His bid for the winners purse of Rs.25,000 will be disputed by Gopi Mohite who defeated Santosh More 9-7, 9-6, 9-6. 


Kohli, Juneja have it easy
(Article in The Daily, Mumbai : 26/6/1997)

Second seed Amitpal Kohli and fifth seed Rohan Juneja advanced into the second round of the under-19 boy’s event by notching up facile first-round wins in the Rs Four-lakh Videocon Squash Classic tournament here today, reports PTI.

Kohli drubbed Vishwas Das 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 while Juneja trounced Nitin Bhosle 9-1, 9-0, 9-3 in the first round. Junaid Nathani, however, had to struggle hard to overcome the challenge of Kshitij Nowahar 9-6, 4-9, 2-9, 9-3, 9-6.

In a men’s first round clash, Cyrus Poncha got past Premal Javeri 9-0, 9-3, 9-7 while in a women’s first round encounter Jigisha Mehta scraped past Sapna Jalan with a hard-fought 9-4, 8-10, 9-4, 5-9, 10-8 victory.

In two other women’s opening round ties, Farida Tata ousted Nisrat Madraswala 9-1, 9-5, 9-7 and Supriya Balsekar got the better of Rashna Patnaik 9-5, 9-3, 7-9, 9-4.


Udai, Bappu emerge champs
(Article in The Daily, Mumbai : 30/6/1997) 

Favourites Udai Singh and Rohan Bappu expectedly clinched the men’s and the under-19 boy’s titles in the Rs. Four Lakh Videocon Squash Classic tournament at the Otters Club here today.

Top seed Udai Singh defeated second Akhil Behl 9-4, 6-9, 9-3, 9-2 in the men’s final.

Singapore based Bappu out-lasted Gaurav Juneja 10-8, 7-9, 9-4, 9-5 for the boy’s crown and pocketed Rs.15,000 Juneja had to remain content with Rs.10,000.


Juneja shocks Doshi
(Article in Afternoon, Mumbai : 28/6/1997) 

Sixth seeded Rohan Juneja shocked fourth seed and former under-16 national Champion Parth Doshi 9-1, 7-9, 2-9, 9-6, 9-6 on way to the boy’s under-19 semi-finals of the Videocon Squash Classic at the Otters Club here yesterday.

Top seeded Rohan Bappu beat unseeded Aftab Mathur 9-5, 9-0, 9-3 to enter the last four stage.

In the Women’s section, top seeded Mekhala Subedar, who is the only seed remaining in the play, drubbed unseeded Deepali Anvekar 9-2, 9-1, 9-2 on way to the semi final berths were filled by unseeded players.

Saritha Jatwani beat giant killer Jagisha Mehta 9-2, 2-9, 9-7, 9-6, while Rhea Bhandare defeated Chandrapriya crushed unseeded Faridha Tata 9-1, 9-2, 9-3 to enter the semi finals.


Vikram enjoys victory over Rahul, Vicky beats Anurag
(Article in Asian Age, Mumbai : 25/6/1997)

It turned out to be the day’s most exciting as Vikram Das earned a hard-fought and well-deserved victory over Rahul Shah in the Junior Boy’s  under-19 category of the Rs.4,00,000 Videocon Squash Classic championship played at the Otter’s Club here on Tuesday. Vikram won the encounter 9-5, 10-8, 9-7.

Vikram faced the short statured Rahul in a tough draw, as Rahul is known to spring a few surprises. He has a tough time in outplaying the little master as Rahul would pop up to equalize every time Vikram took a lead. In the first game itself Vikram started with the serve and took an early lead. However, he hit the tin quite often, giving Rahul a chance to equalize. When Vikram stood ahead with 5-3, his unwanted errors brought Rahul back to equalize at 5-5.

“I lost concentration towards the end of every game; some stupid mistakes cost me all three games,” said a tired Rahul, while speaking to The Asian Age later. However, in the second game, Rahul did show some potential for fighting back into the game. Rahul scored points one after the other till he had taken a lead of 4-1. When leading at 2-0, the game was dragged for quite a long time.

But in due time Vikram equalized. The see-saw battle of points reached a head when  both players stood at par 8-8. Rahul, in a bid to make his opponent run for the ball, hit the tin to make it 8-9 and then struck the ball over the marked line to lose the game 8-10.

The third game was played in a similar fashion with Rahul taking an early lead. Rahul was well ahead with three (5-3) points when Vikram caught up to make it 4-5. Rahul, however, played some good shots to maintain the lead. Vikram, filled with an intense desire to win, caught up with Rahul at 7 and then bagged the next two points to win the match. After the match, Vikram confessed that he did not play the game he usually plays and also admitted that Rahul was a better competitor and he expected and initially took the game quite lightly.

When Anurag Gill, a seventh standard student, came into the court for his match against collegian Vicky Singh, if seemed an encounter between David and Goliath, with the ant challenging the elephant. Even though Vicky enjoyed an easy victory against Anurag, he went into the match warily, not inclined to under estimate his opponent.

However once Vicky started scoring points, Anurag did not get a chance to prove his talent. Anurag was defeated in straight games 9-1, 9-1, 9-2. A tardy approach for the ball led to Anurag’s defeat. Just back from the US on school holiday, Jamshid Pandole won a hard match against Pune number one Rohit Thadani to qualify for the men’s event.

Down two games to one, Pandole came back strongly to win 9-3, 5-9, 7-9, 9-1, 9-5. The match lasted almost for an hour. “It took me some time to get adjusted to the conditions and humidity here,” said Pandole complimented his opponent. “He played well. Both were getting tired towards the end . I just managed to pull it off”. A leading junior from Mumbai two years ago, Pandole, 20, is studying business management at Frankly & Marshall who finished fifth at the US inter-collegiate. He now runs into his collegemate, Vinay Asthana.


Jamshid qualifies for men’s event
(Article in Times of India, Mumbai : 25/6/1997)

Just back from the US on a short holiday, Jamshid Pandole won a difficult match against Pune’s no. One Rohit Thadani to qualify for the men’s event of the Rs.4 lakh Videocon Squash Classic, the richest ever tournament in the country, at the Otters Club on Tuesday.

Down two games to one, Pandole came back strongly to win, 9-3, 5-9, 7-9, 9-1 and 9-5 the match lasting almost an hour.

A leading junior from Mumbai two years ago, Pandole, 20, is studying business management at Franklyn & Marshall who finished fifth at the US inter-collegiate level, now runs into Vinay Asthana.

Another player who has undertaken a long trip, Jaikaran Juneja, made it to the main draw of the boys under-19. The fourteen year old who had come from Singapore had to play the qualifying as the organizers were unsure of his arrival.

Juneja overwhelmed Viraj Shah in straight games and now takes on Mihir Kapoor. In another close match, Cyrus Warden downed Roshan Kripal 9-2, 9-7, 6-9, 9-0.


Chotrani Surprises Rajdeep Brar
(Article in Times of India, Mumbai : 28/6/1997) 

There was a big surprise in the men’s section when seasoned Rajdeep Brar went down to Manish  Chotrani in straight games in the quarter finals of the Rs.4 lakh Videocon Squash Classic being played at the Otters Club’s air-conditioned court on Friday.

Brar, seeded third, was totally outplayed by sixth seed, Chotrani. The scores were 9-2, 9-1, 9-7.

The match was expected to be a close one, but it turned it out to be one-sided. Chotrani troubled Brar with his nagging length, and he played some splendid volleys from the forecourt. He also made good use of the sidewall boast. Brar has often been known for his tenacity. He wears down his opponent with accuracy. But ob Friday he was off-colour, and his shots often found the tin.

Fourth seed Paul Ferreira played to the gallery but was still good enough to beat Yogesh Panchal. Paul had to erase a 4-8 deficit to win in straight games.

Top seed Udai Singh had little difficulty getting past Rishad Billimoria in another encounter.

Earlier in the day, Rohan Juneja scrapped past Parth Doshi in a seed saw encounter. Rohan Bappu in the Boys under-19 semi finals while second seed Amitpal Kohli takes on Gaurav Juneja.

The women’s semi finals pits top seed Makhala Subedar against evergreen Deepika Chandratreya while Sarita Jethwani runs into Rhea Bhandare. Sarita ended the giant killing run of Jigisha Mheta in the Quarter finals.


Karishma falls to Jigisha, second seed Parineeta out
(Article in Times of India, Mumbai : 27/6/1997)


For the second day in a row, Jigisha Mehta had to battle hard to win in the women’s section of Rs. four lakh Videocon Squash Classic being played at the Otters Club’s air-conditioned court on Thursday.

Jigisha upset third seed Karishma Juneja in five games in a second round match. Jigisha won 9-2, 9-3, 6-9, 6-9, 9-7. Jigisha had beaten Sapna Jalan on Wednesday also in five games.

Second seed Parineeta Choudhari fell to a rather surprising 2-9, 1-9, 1-9. An unwell Parineeta caved in with out a fight.

In the men’s section, it was smooth sailing for second seed Akhil Behl. HE hardly had to break a sweat as he eased past Vineet Asthana 9-2, 9-3, 9-3. Asthana, who studies at Frankin and Marshall University in the U.S., did not have the wherewithal to trouble the second seed. He did briefly lead in the third game 3-0, but Akhil leveled scores quickly and went onto clinch the match without losing another point. Vineet’s twin brother, Vinay, meta similar fate as he went down to Paul Ferreira 4-9, 3-9, 7-9.

Rishad Billimoria who studies at Harvard and is here on holiday easily brushed aside Avinash Bhavnani 9-3, 9-4, 9-5. Yogesh Panchal also had it beating Darab Khan in straight games 9-0, 9-3, 9-4.


Thadani, Nadkarni have it easy
(Article in Free Press Journal, Mumbai : 24/6/1997) 

The Videocon Squash Classic which carries Rs.4 lakh in prize-money, the richest in the country, has acted as a catalyst to the players. Ample evidence of it could be had from the number of entries for the qualifying rounds which got underway on Monday.

As many as 64 players are aspiring for a place in the men’s main draw, while the under-19  event has 48 in the qualifying competition. In the professionals event too there is stiff competition with 14 vying for a berth in the tournament proper.

Only the fourth event, the women’s has no preliminary competition but then the 23 player in the fray form the highest number of entries, more than even what the National Championship had attracted.

In view the large number of entries the qualifying rounds are being held on a knock-out basis and at three venues, the Otters Club, the Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana and the Khar Gymkhana.

The men have been divided into 16 groups of four each with the winner of each group going through. In the boys under-19 there are 16 groups of three each and in the professionals event, eight groups of two each.

The enthusiasm among the leading lights too can be gauged from the fact that Udai Singh, the runner-up at the last National and top-seed for the under-19 event, have come all the way from Singapore.

Three good players not get a direct entry, Rohit Thadani, the Pune number one, Mangesh Nadkarni and Jamshed Pandole, predictably had an easy outing in the opening round of the men’s qualifying.

While Thadani beat Sunil Raheja 3-0, and Jamshed Pandole won likewise against Suresh Ramchandani, Nadkarni did not concede a single point Rana Jagwani.

Among the professionals, three Tambes, not related, made it to the main draw. They were Kishore Tambe (CCI), Vilas Tambe (Khar Gym), and Devdas Tambe (Bombay Gymkhana). Joining them were Vijay Sonawane, Ajaz Mohammad, R.G. Begum and Kishore Bamania.


Mittal Ousts spirited Vicky, close win for Mehta
(Article in Asian Age, Mumbai : 27/06/1997) 

Mumbai, June 26: Gaurav Mittal, the fourth seed put an end to Vicky Singh’s winning spree in the Junior Boy’s U-19 event of the Rs.4, 00,000/- Videocon Classic Squash Championship prevailing in straight games at the Otters Club, Bandra, here on Thursday.

Jigisha Mehta survived yet another round making her way back into the game after trailing 4-7 in the decider, to beat Karishma Juneja.

In a match which was a lot tougher than the scoreline suggests, Mittal had a tough time against his spirited rival. The first game which lasted for nearly 10 minutes, did not entirely belong to the fourth seed. Though Gaurav took the game 9-3, Vicky Singh was hot in pursuit of his ranked rival. Inspite of taking an early lead of 4-1, Gaurav was held by unseeded Vicky, who fought back to within a point of Mittal at 3-4. The score dawdled at 5-3 for quite some time as Gaurav tried to widen the gap and Vicky was trying his best to equalize. The scoreline remained unchanged for more than five minutes, with Gaurav eventually breaking the deadlock as Vicky’s backhand dipped into the tin. Gaurav than scored points regularly until he won the game 9-3.

Vicky, who seemed not to be used to the pressure situations of this kind, crumbles in the second game, scoring a paltry 2 points as he made a number of unforced errors.

However, the situation changed again in the third game as Vicky made a spirited challenge to survive in the match. Gaurav found Vicky’s presence a bit tough in the third game. While Gaurav was on his way to bag the third game and the match. Vicky retaliated with a superlative performance. Trailing 1-5, Vicky worked exceptionally hard to equalize at 5-5. Gaurav claimed two more points with Vicky over hitting the ball.

Making a desperate bid to stay in the match, Vicky tried his best but later succumbed to the extra-fine performance by his antagonist. Even after equalizing at 8-8, and also with the serve in his hands, Vicky could not take advantage. When the serve was hand-out to Gaurav, Vicky had a choice of deciding whether he wanted a point or a two point game. He chose one, with Gaurav claiming the also point Vicky found himself out of the court wiping his sweat. “I don’t know what made me call for one point, may be I was tired”, said a sweating Vicky after the, match.

In the women’s second round match Jigisha Mehta’s gave yet another hard working performance against Karishma Juneja, the winner of the tournament held at the Otters Club. Jigisha, who beat Sapna Jalan in a tense encounter on Wednesday, had her hands full yet again.

Jigisha won the first two game quite conveniently with 9-2, 9-3 but found her rival make a tremendous fight back in the third. The tables were turned from the third game onwards. Jigisha started off well with a basic objective, victory. She was on her way to a comfortable win with a lead of 5-2 when all off a sudden things went against her. Karishma playing at her best. caught up and later took charge of the game winning 9-6. The next was played in similar fashion with Karishma winning the game by an identical score-line of 9-6.

In the decider, Karishma started well, taking an early lead to diminish all the expectations of her rival. Karishma was all set to wind up the decider with a comfortable lead (7-4). However, Jigisha, giving a repeat of her steely performance against Sapna in the previous round, staged a unbelievable recovery. Gaining in confidence, Jigisha went on to equalize the score. And then keeping her nerves about her, she bagged two more points to claim a well deserved victory.


Asthana twins crash out
(Article in Afternoon, Mumbai : 27/06/1997)

The Asthana twins, Vineet and Vinay, both highly promising while they were juniors, bowed out of the men’s event of the Rs.4 lakh Videocon Squash Classic at the Otters Club, Bandra, Yesterday.

Both, Vineet and Vinay, did not have the luck of the draw and ran into strong opponents in the second round. Vineet lost to Akhil Behl, the second seed, while Vinay was beaten by Paul Ferreira, ranked third, in straight games.

Even though the outcome was more or less a forgone conclusion, the match between Udai Singh, the top seed, and Vaman Apte was followed with considerable enthusiasm as Apte is the president of the squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra.

Apte did have his moments scoring now and then with a strong forehand. Udai was home, 9-3, 9-2, 9-1. Mr. Apte now faces a different battle as leading players of the state have in a signed statement raised several issues regarding the functioning of the SRAM.

For the second day running, Jigisha Mehta was involved in a long-drawn struggle. This time, she beat Karishma Juneja at 9-7 in the fifth and final game.

The effort ensures at least Rs.2,500/- in prize-money for Jigisha. She can double her earnings if she gets past Sarita Jethwani.


Pandole makes it to main draw
(Article in Mid day, Mumbai : 25/06/1997)

Jamshed Pandole came all the way from the United States and he was stretched the full distance before getting past Rohit Thawani of Pune in a nail-biting qualifier of the Videocon Squash Classic men’s event at the Otters Club at Bandra Yesterday.

Jamshed, 20 a business management student in the US and now on a vacation, made it to the main competition, but was made to sweat to out by Rohit, a businessman from across the western ghats. Jamshed won 3-2 (9-5, 6-9, 7-9, 9-1, 9-5) in an exciting match in 55 minutes.

Playing very aggressive game with alit of hard shots, Jamshed commented: “I played well in spell, lost two game splaying too negatively. It was also the heat that made me tired, very well and fought it out well.”

Rohit, who too complained of the humidity as compared to Pune, looked fit putting up good resistance.

Nikhil Behl and Mangesh Nadkarni, the two Otters Club players, did not had to exert much while booking their berths in the tournament proper with easy 3-0 victories over Girish Kaira and Leon Emanuel (New Bombay Sports Association) respectively.

In the under-19 category for the Rs.15,000/- prize money to the winner, Sanjay Pawar, had a cake walk while trouncing Akash Sharma 9-0, 9-0, 9-0.

Sanjay (14), a seventh standard student of Dnyan Vardhini HS (Kandivali) who trains at the Otters Club twice a week, a future national junior champion prospect displayed very strong back and forehand but need to concentrate on fitness if he is to see places. In the main draw Sanjay will take on seventh seed Aftab Mathur.

Jaikaran Juneja (14), a student of Bishop Cotton School (Shimla), looked a disappointment lad. He bitterly complained for not having been seeded.

“I have come here after spending Rs.30,000/- for my trip. It is most unfair that almost half the players seeded in the main draw beaten by me in the All India Nationals at Chennai and the Little Masters find the berth and I have been overlooked.”


Nikhil Finds His Way
(Article in Mid Day, Mumbai : 24/06/1997)

With an impressive win over Sahil Adlekha, Nikhil Behl is a step closer to enter main draw.

NIKHIL Behl, who put it across Sahil Adlekha (Delhi) in one of the best games out of the 10 scheduled on the opening day of the Videocon Squash Classics at the Khar Gymkhana, is confident of making the main draw of the men’s event which offers Rs.25,000/- to the winner.

The 21-year-old MBA First Year student of Chetan Institute of Management, who won 9-5, 9-1 and 9-5 in order to book the berth in the main draw, will have to put it across Girish Kaira on Tuesday.

“I have never seen Kaira play however, I am confident of defeating him and qualifying for the open category,” explained Nikhil, adding that he has a fairly good chance of making the grade.

In fact, the Otters Club player added: “there are a couple of guys who are as good as me seeded in the main draw and once I makes the grade, their won’t be much difference between me and the seeded players.” Amongst yet another good player, who is made to sweat it out to make the grade is Mangesh Nadkarni from Otters Club who is a good player according to Nikhil.

Describing his play against his first round opponent Sahil Adlekha, Nikhil commented: “Basically, the positive point was that, it gave me an opportunity of having a good feel of the court and on Tuesday when I take on a new opponent whom I have never played before, I will be able to adapt myself well and make a good start while my opponent will struggle to settle down.”

“The Videocon Classic will provide a much needed big boost to squash. There is a lot of talent in this beautiful game and unless a lot of money is pumped in the sport which is otherwise neglected, will never come up,” commented Nikhil with a sigh of hope. While Nikhil is confident of making it to the competition proper on Tuesday, he says: “I hope in the main draw, I am lucky enough to meet someone of my caliber and not my younger brother Akhil or Uday Singh (Australia), Paul Ferreira, Manish Chotrani or Niraj Shiragoakar”.

When asked as to why he is afraid of his own brother, the India No.3 and Junior National Champion, Nikhil replied: “No doubt, I introduced Akhil to the game and played an important role in his success. He is probably more talented and has hung on the game where as I had a three year break.”


Guarav, Rohan enter final
(Article in Mid Day, Mumbai : 28/06/1997)

Mumbai, June 28 on a day of mixed fortunes for the Juneja twin brothers, fourth seed Gaurav stunned second seed Amit Pal Kohli 3-1 (4-9, 9-3, 9-2, 9-7) in a exciting boys’ U-19 semifinal of the Rs. Four lakh Videocon Squash Classic Tournament at the Otters Club glass court here on Saturday.

Gaurav’s will meet top seed Rohan Bappu in Sunday’s final. Bappu scored a facile victory over Gaurav’s brother Rohan 3-0 (9-1, 9-3, 9-5). The winner will get Rs.15,000/- while the runner-up get Rs.10,000/-.

After having lost the first game and found it difficult to adjust, Guarav (16), a SY student of H R Commerce College, picked up the ball well from the numerous mistakes committed by Amit Pal by hitting the tin.

Gaurav, having gained in confidence and rounded up the two games, in the fourth game, led 6-0 only to see Pal recover 5-6 with some brilliant shots. Gaurav, however, made it 7-5 but Gaurav had the benefit of the match ball to again forge ahead 8-7 and managed to get service back which fetched him the winner 9-7 in a nail-biting fourth and deciding game.

“Basically, I had not planned any strategy. It was the physical training under Rehmat Khan which helped me pick up each and every ball.”

Amit Pal (17), a SYJC students of Mithibhai College, looked unfit and having been sailing smooth until his clash with Gaurav, he conceded 0-7 lead in each game. Besides, his hitting of the ball was erratic it was only in the last game that he did try to make a fight of it by coming into the game 6-6 after being 0-6 down.


21st Tournament Organised by ISP