Press Reports (2000)

Malyasian Marvels

Mid-day: 26-5-2000                                                                       By Geoff Hunt

Carol Owns has finally emerged from the shadow of the great Australian women’s players of her time. Her wins in the Al Ahram World Women’s Grand Prix Final showed that she is now a serious contender for the world number one position and has a realistic chance to win the World and British Open this year.

Having beaten the world’s top ranked players in Hurghada, including twice defeating World Champion Cassie Campion, must give her enormous confidence for the year to come.

We all know that Sarah Fitz Gerald is re-establishing herself as a formidable opponent but Carol beat Leilani Joyce in Cairo and then pushed Michelle Martin to the limit in the World Open at Seattle . There is no doubting Carol is the quickest of the leading players, which gives her a definite advantage when it comes to retrieving the ball.

Her speed also allows her to get in position early to hit thus giving her opponents less time to pay the ball themselves. Carol has been in the world’s top 10 for number of years but I would  say she has never really threatened  to win a major championship until last 12 months.

After the disappointment of losing the British Open last year Peter Nicol seems to have recovered his health and from to win the last three PSA events.



Kuala Lumpur:23-5-2000                          Raju Chainani                        

Yogin thakur came close to pulling off a stunning victory in the boys under-17 event at the sport excel Milo squash Open in Ipoh last night . The  TEAM MID-DAY youngster had beaten top seed Kenneth liew (Serewak ) in the Semi finals but found Hansul Hashim a tough customer and went down 9-2,9-6,9-5.

The scores do not reflect the way the match went with Thakur giving it his best shot . Playing four matches in the span of 48 hours took its toll and the same  happened with the other Mumbai  juniors Rachita Vora  lost  in the semi finals  of the girls under 17  and eventually had to settle for fourth place .

The two little ones , Ishaan Balwani and Shaille Shelke were up against top juniors Balwani was in the boys under -13 where she  finished 9th the above quarter was in action at  Ipoh  two and a half hours awa6y from Kuala  Lumpur.

Another two hours down the road was the pepsi Squash Complex at Penang where the under-15 and under 19 events of the Sports Excel Milo Open were played. Here , Manek Mathur who were had been put into the boys under 15, won one of  his four matches Mathur , who is 12 years old, had been asked by coach K.H. Ong to play in a higher –age group and he had the satisfaction of being on court with some of the best youngsters in Malaysia .

Natasha Lal took the first game against top seed June Tong but the Penang girl was too experienced and went on to a 3-1 score line . Lal won her next three matches and was placed l9th overall . Lal and Mathur  had the chance of seeing world junior championship  Nicol  David practicing at the Penang courts .The weekend events at Ipoh  and  Penang  were very good experience for Team MID  DAY  and the juniors  returned wiser for tier efforts.


 Mid-day: 19-5-2000                                                               By  Raju Chainani

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 TEAM MID-DAY fought back well and drew 7-7 with strong junior team from FT Malaysia at the lake view Club this afternoon. The Mumbai junior squash players have been hard at work with coach K H Ong and their approach has won them many friends.

Thursday’s match was against a stronger team that the ones they came up against earlier; but the Mumbai squad showed their mettle and the end result was a fair indication of how close the tie was.

Tunku Imran and Dato Vinod Sekhar, the pioneers of the Petra Foundation, met the players at the club this afternoon and joined them for lunch.

RESULTS : Ishan Balwani beat A Kumar 9-5,9-0,9-0; Siddharth Samantaray lost to G Azfat 9-4, 6-9, 7-9, 10-8, 9-2; Shailee Shelke beat J.Sharmani 9-7, 4-9, 9-5, 9-2,9-3; Rachita Vora beat Sharmila Menon 9-0,9-1,9-1; Supreet Singh lost to Looi Hong  Ling 0-9, 1-9, 1-9; Yogin Thakur lost to Eugene Ho 6-7,7-9,9-4,6-9; Rachita Vora beat Lum See Ling 9-6, 9-3, 9-5; Vikram Malhotra beat Sachin Kumar 9-2., 9-0, 9-6 Aditya Manjrekat lost to Kapil Nesan 0-9, 3-9, 6-9 Bipin Batra lost to Wong Wai Ying 6-9, 4-9, 2-9 Manek Mathur lost to J.Sally 0-9,3-9,1-9 Rahil Shah beat M.Azaykar 9-2, 9-5, 3-9, 9-0

MID-DAY Tryos Win

Mid-day: 15-5-2000                                                                      By Raju Chainani

The MID-DAY junior squash team defeated the Lakeview Club 8-7 last afternoon. It was impressive start by the Mumbai juniors who were up against five ranked Malaysian players-Looi Fon Sow, Looi Hong Lin, Ashvin Nesan, Kapil Nesan and Sally Looi. Three of the matches went the distances with the Mumbai youngsters, who were not expected to be up against it, showing their mettle and emerging as deserving winners.

Results: Supreet Singh beat Looi Fon Sow 8-10, 7-9, 10-9, 9-7, 9-1; Yogin Thakur lost to Looi Hong Ling 6-9, 0-9, 4-9; Siddharth Samantaray lost to Mak Wai Ying 1-9, 0-9, 0-9; Rahil Shah lost to Ashvin Nesan 7-9, 0-9,0-9;Sanjay Pawar lost to Kapil Nesan  9-10, 6-9, 6-9; Rachita Vora lost to Sally Looi 9-3, 5-9,1-9, 9-6, 3-9; Bipin Batra beat Saffi Raja 0-9, 9-1, 5-9, 9-6, 9-3; Manek Mathur beat See Toh Lee 5-9, 10-9, 9-6, 9-2; Natasha Lal beat Nathan Raja 9-3, 9-4, 9-4; Vikram Malhotra beat Sachin Nesan 9-3, 9-2, 9-4; Ishaan Balwani beat Joel Lee 9-1, 9-5, 9-0; Shailee Shelke lost to Aisha Gnami 9-2, 3-9, 1-9, 3-9; Shailee  Shelke beat Diana Ong 9-0,9-4,9-3; Siddharth Samantaray beat Nahan Raja 9-6, 4-9, 10-8, 9-4.


Times of India: 11-5-2000                                    

The Otters Club on Tuesday denied that they had kept the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra in the dark about their Rs.1 lakh prize money tournament which commenced on Wednesday.

Agency reports here said the association (SRAM) had logged a protest with the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) against the club for undermining its authority when it applied directly to the SRFI to host the tournament.

Rustom Dalal, squash secretary of Otters Club, said as it was a tournament involving outstation players, they had applied to the SRFI, with a copy to the state body. The SRFI said it would send its observer, Manan Mashruwala, for the tournament.  The state body had told the club that they should have applied to it was a copy to the SRFI.

As regards criticism about scraping of the under-19 and under-15 firls events, Dalal said as the under-19 would be a cakewalk for Deepali Anvekar it was decided to club it with the under-15 event which was a merged with the under-17 one.

Meanwhile, it is surprising that though the SRFI has called for selection trials for the Asian Championship (Hong Kong July 5-12) and World Junior Boys Championship (Milan July 16-29) at Chennai none of the Maharashtra players have been informed.


Mid-day:- 6-5-2000                                                                 By Raju Chainani  
A Select group of Mumbai's Leading junior Squash Player are Scheduled to leave for Kuala Lumpur on Thursday as part of exchange programme between MID-DAY and the THE PETRA Foundation Last December, the Malaysian under15 cricketers visited Mumbai and received coaching at the Elf-Vengsarkar Cricket Academy.
Next Week, our junior squash players would be training at the Lake View Club in Subang Jaya with former Malaysian International K.H.Ong. For those who believe the proof of the pudding is in the eating, K.H. Ong has been father, mentor, coach and friend to his son Ong Beng Hee, the only non-pakistani Asian to have won the World juniors boys title.
Beng Hee defeated Egypt's Wael Hatim Hindi in the 1998 Final at Princeton and has since Graduated into the senior ranks. The May PSA List has seen him climb to 35. The Mumbai entourage are excited that Beng Hee would be doing a few training sessions with them during the next fortnight.

Of course, there remain a few who have banana-leaf coaching certificates or are glorified head-nodders of the cash rich snake charmer. For them bad mouthing the trip is par for the course. Can any of them boast of having trained a junior world champion?
The exchange programme was set up by Khalid Ansari, Chairman of the Mid-day Group and Tunku Imran, President Emeritus of the World Squash Federation and a Keen promoter of sport in Malaysia. The concept was to take advantage of each others strengths .Mumbai has been long regarded as the home of Indian cricket Likewise , the Squash facilities and the development of the game in Malaysia have led to it becoming a major force in world squash.
K.H Ong knows his onions. The programme for the Mumbai juniors is intensive with a healthy mix of training and match play .There are couple of days reserved for sight seeing too .As the finer  details came into place , parents and supporters joined in. The total strength of the Kuala Lumpur -bound part is around 30.It"ll be hot iln the garden city but this trip should be an eye -opener for many of the kids and a stepping stone for better things to come in to come in the future.  


Free Press:1-4-2000                                

FOURTEEN juniors form Mumbai have been selected for a training programmes to be conducted by the internationally reputed squash coach K.H. Ong father of world junior champion Ong Beng hee in Kuala Lumpur  between  May 13 and 20.

The players will be sponsored by Mid-day and are being sent as part of the  sports exchange programme set up by Mid-day and Malaysia ‘s Petra Foundation to benefit Mumbai junior squash players and Malaysia juniors cricket aspirants

The programme was initiated by H R H Tunku    Imran of Malaysia (president , Malaysia cricket association and president emeritus World Squash Federation ) and Khalid  Ansari (president of the Squash Rackets Federation of Maharashtra )

Last December .15 Malaysian cricketers under the age of 15 underwent cricket coaching at the Elf Vengsarkar Academy under former Test Cricket former Test Cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar Hanumant Singh and K Jayantilal.

The names of the trainees who will participate in the programme  are Aditya Manjrekar, Ishaan Balwani , Manek Mathur  Natasha Lal, Priyanka Yadhav , Rishab Sanghvi , Ritesh Sharma, Sanjay Pawar, Shailee Shelke , Supreet singh  Rachita Vora, Rahil Shah , Vikram Malhotra  and Yogin Thakur.   

Ten Years Of Simply Squashing Success 

Mid-day: 4-3-2000  
Simply Squash celebrates 10 years of providing news, views and reviews in July 2000. The inaugural issue was launched at the Cooch Behar Room at the CCI on July 12, 1990 by Mr M K Sanghi. It was a black and white edition that was soon changed to full colour within six months.

The initial sponsorship came from Mysore Petro Chemicals Ltd. Their Chairman, Mr Shyam Dhanuka has been a keen player and supporter of the game.

The circulation grew from 2,000 in July 1990 to just over 10,000 in a matter of a year. By this time, Perrier had become the sponsors of the newsletter which had a minimum of six issues in a year and was now had an international readershi. Perrier have remained solidly behindthe publication and today, the international circulation spans 106 cities in 34 countries. Four times world open Championship Geoff Hunt contributes a regular column. Results, rankings and off-court happenings are part and parcel of the publication.

With a view of expanding the readership base, an approach was made to the World Squash Federation to send out copies to the members/ associated/ people on their mailing list. The e-mail from the WSF speaks itself.

Congratulations on 10 years of Simply Squash I really cannot believe it has been that long, it has been that long, it shows the truth of the old English saying "times flies when you are enjoying yourself."

Will Chinappa Get The Nod

Times of India : 27-2-2000                                                  
Joshna Chinappa played in the Switcher-Leela Squash open which concluded in Mumbai recently. Her participation did not meet with any objection from the Tamil Nadu SRA who suggested that this was an invitational event and not on the SRFI's calendar.

A couple of weeks ago, Chennai staged the Asian Squash Federation Junior Grand Circuit finals. This was declared as an invitational tournament and when Chinappa asked if she could participate, she was told her entry must come through the state body as was the rule of the land.

That she was not included in the select list despite having won events on the Asian circuit is food for thought. Equally, Mumbai's Bikram Uberoi and Mihir Kapoor, who did play in the boys under-19, did not route their entry through the SRAM. Uberoi's win was another feather in Mumbai's cap but the harsh reality is this was an "invitational tournament" and cannot be touted as the culmination of the year's events which would logically have seen players qualify on the basis of their performance in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and India.

Looking ahead the Asian Senior Championship will be held in July at Hong kong. The composition of the Indian Ladies team should be interesting. Mekhala Subedar and Deepali Anvekar look to be automatic choices. But who would be automatic choices. But who would be the other two? Chennai's Pia Abraham and Mumbai's Supriya Balsekar have British passports and would be ineligible.

Rhea Bhandare has been a disappointment. Chennai's Vaidehi Reddy a and Joshna Chinappa should be the leading contenders for places, if one goes the results and form. India's coach, Cyrus Poncha, the present blue-eyed boy of the establishment, may have a few answers.


The First Emperor

Mid day 19-2-2000                                                                                  By Raju Chainani
Illustrated once suggested, "The Khans are to squash what Bach is to music", So much has been written about this famous family which rose from the depths of the North West Frontier and for five decades, litup the world squash.

The deeds remain etched in memory. Their objective was simple. We are here to win titles and not to speak the Queen's English", Hashim started it off, Azam, Roshan and the late Moibullah continued the winning streak.

Then came Jahangir and more recently, Jansher. But, it all began in 1944, the year the Japnese invaded pearl Harbour. In Bombay, as it was known in those days. Hashim Khan won the Western India Professionals squash title at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) courts beating the club's number one Abdul Bari. He did so again the next year and made it a ménage et trios in 1946.

Two weeks ago, at New York's Grand Central Station, a balding man with a slight limp made his way to the special invitees box. He was immaculately dressed and the eyes of the audiences followed him. People stopped and stared. Some went up and shook his hand. Cameras clicked. This was a moment in time as they were with the legendary Hashim Khan.

Fifty-six years have passed since Hashim's first to visit to India. During that time, he had won titles all over the world, beginning with the "magic seven" British Opens, a record that stood till 1980 when Australia's Geoff Hunt won his eighth Open and later in 1991 when Jahangir made it a perfect ten. But, it was Hashim who set the ball rolling. And to think that his first major success came at the CCI.

His first visit to Bombay in 1944 had many rubbing their eyes almost in disbelief. He humbled the local champion in straight games and there was daylight between two. His style of play was unique. "Watch ball like hawk. Hold Hashim returned to the CCI in 1955. By that time he had established himself as the world number one and had five British Opens under his belt.

" I play exhibition match with CCI pro Jamal Din. We also play in Calcutta". 

The reason for the visit? " I try convince Jamal to play in America. He ask where to get money come and we go to America". He found a niche in the land of opportunity. Denver was to become his home. " still play, maybe two or three times in week. Important for body to have exercise". The game has changed the equipment has changed but in Hashim's book there is something lets. It stops flow of game. Not good."

At New York, his table was never empty. There were many Indians he has got to know. There were many Indians he has got to know. Dicky Rutnagur has been an old friend. "Anil Nayar was amateur champion in North America. Very good player". He has a good rapport with Yusuf, the Seattle-based former CCI pro and coach of Nayar. " I miss world open last November in Yusuf's club because I not too well. He good man.

The die-hards suggest there has never been anybody with the ball control and strokes Hashim had. Nobody can really tell how old he is. Some say he is 84, others 91 that appears more accurate. Who cares? The privileged lot who have seen him are acknowledge that he was the First Emperor.

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