Press Articles by Raju Chainani from 1976 to 2001


















Articles in Raju Chainani's memories


 Press Articles by Raju Chainani (2001)


Raju Chainani – RIP

By Khalid A-H Ansari (Mid-Day, 1st Sept 2001)

The widespread expression of grief in the world squash community – from the United Kingdom to Australia – over the sudden and premature passing away of renowned squash writer Raju Chainani is a barometer of the regard and affection, which he enjoyed in the fraternity.

In his death, the game of squash has been bereaved not only in Mumbai and the rest of India but all over the world.

Squash was the magnificent obsession for the genial Raju whose dedication to the game, devastating wit and affectionate nature won him friends and admires among squash players, administrators and journalists all over the world.

A nationally ranked player in his time, Raju’s passion for the game was legendary. Squash was his very being. His knowledge of the finer points of the game and its glorious traditions was second to none.

Raju’s passion to spread the gospel of squash outside the confines of the five-star clubs of Mumbai, especially among youngsters, was an inspiration to the present Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM). The setting up of the MID-DAY A H ANSARI Squash Academy at Andheri was a dream come true for Raju, the visionary, to whom many local squash champions are indebted for his support, guidance and inspiration.

To Raju Chainani must go a great deal of credit for getting MID-DAY and Malaysia’s PETRA FOUNDATION together, culminating in the setting up of the Exchange Programme between the two institutions under which promising squash players from Mumbai and cricketers from Malaysia derive the benefit, on a reciprocal basis, of the infrastructure and coaching facilities in the two countries.

Raju published SIMPLY SQUASH magazine for 12 years despite enormous financial constraints. It was for him a consuming passion, a labour of love in his single-minded endeavour to promote the game.

Prophets, it is said, are seldom recognized in their own countries. This was the case as well with Raju, who made many enemies in Mumbai and elsewhere in India because of his impassioned sense of justice and fair play.

His concern for the underdog and his crusading zeal against tyrannical, autocratic squash officials in Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) and their running dogs, predictably, incurred the wrath of oppressive officialdom. But Raju was not one to be intimidated and he continued his campaign against injustice with exemplary zeal.

Raju Chainani was a man in a hurry. His recent conversation with friends and colleagues during the Hong Kong Open and request to this writer, who he knew for almost 30 years, to meet at short notice in Mumbai after his return last week to discus important squash matters indicate that he was aware that the end was high.

The Maker does not cast many journalists in the Raju Chainani mould. May his soul rest in peace.

Squash correspodent passes away

By Rajan Bala (Asian Age)

Bangalore, Sept. 1: The somber announcement that Raju Chainani, 49, died after brief illness, came as a shock for those who regarded him as friend, albeit a mischievous one. Raju was the only worthwhile writer on squash in the country and good one. He had played the game at national level and loved it, like I love cricket.

As the editor of the magazine Simply Squash he showed that he was meticulous and accurate. He did everything possible for the venture. Unfortunately, it had to be just for private circulation but when I was working in Mumbai, I would get my copy. He encouraged all journalists he interacted with to use any information of interest from the magazine in their newspapers. I first came into contact with him in 1989, when I asked him to write on the game for the Indian Express in Mumbai. He did what he was best at – creating a stir.

There was no doubt that he had the good of the game at heart but if he had to call a spade a spade, he went beyond it. He called it a bulldozer. He used to joke: “If a bloke has any shame then a word would door even a tap on the head. But the squash officials we have, have to be battered into their senses.”

The point about Raju’s writing was that it was entertaining as it was provocative. Of course, I left the Indian Express, and Raju wrote elsewhere. But we remained in close touch, meeting for lunch at the Cricket Club of India. He close chum, Ramesh Ootam of Air-India was generally there and many a fine afternoon was spent in laughter and occasional “bitching.”

His constructive criticism (forget the harshness), at times did contribute to straightening the squash structure both in Maharashtra and the country (the National Federation). For instance, he conducted media tycoon, Khalid Ansari into squash and made him stand as president of the State Association.

It was Raju’s efforts that saw former champion Anil Nayar (now resident of the United States), visit and encourage young players with scholarships. It was Raju who brought coach Bajwa down. In fact, he was so prolific that  not a day passes without him contributing something on the game to newspapers. It must be said that another National Champion, Adrian Ezra, owes a lot to Raju’s interest and encouragement.

It was his dream that India should emulate Pakistan by providing a world champion. But that did not happen in his lifetime. The work that he has done though, will not go in vain. He traveled the world following and writing the game. And once did what many a journalist would dream to do, interviewed the Great Train Robber, Ronald Briggs in Brazil. Now Biggs is back in the United Kingdom, old and repentant. And Raju is no more. Hey buddy, just open your eyes and see what we have to say about you. RIP.

SRAM institutes Raju Chainani awards
THE Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra has decided to institute two awards for the Inter-Schools and Inter-Colllege squash tournament — the Raju Chainani Most Promising Junior Award and the Raju Chainani Essay Competition — in memory of squash writer Raju Chainani, who passed away recently. Sandeep Jangra of Jindal Vidyamandir, Vashind, won the most promising junior award and was presented with Rs 10,000.

For the Raju Chainani essay, schools and college students below the age of 19 are requested to send in an essay of 500 words on “What squash means to me.” The winning entry will win Rs 2,000 and will also be published in ProSquash, the newsletter of the Indian Squash Professionals.
What Squash Community says:
It is a tragic end to one of the finest writers and benefactors squash had in India. Raju did a lot for juniors and worked untiringly towards getting a better deal for the game from officialdom. God rest his soul.
                                                                                          Rajdeep Brar
More Articles on Raju:
Joshna leads India's charge

By Raju Chainani 

JOSHNA Chinappa spearheads India's challenge at the World Junior women's squash championships which begin at Penang on Sunday. The Chennai-based 15-year-old brought glory to the country at the recent Malaysian and Singapore Junior Opens. She won the under-17 at Kuala Lumpur and had a notable double, the under-19 and under-17 at the Lion City. 

Instead of lauding her success, the Squash Racquets Federation of India (SRFI) served her a show-cause notice asking how she had entered two events at Singapore. Mumbai's Supriya Balsekar has been named as the number three player for the world junior championship squad.

Raring for a crack



TWO weeks of intensive training for Team MID-DAY's junior squash players concluded at the Lakeview Club yesterday. The squad has a day off today and then it's time for the Malaysian Junior Open. Coach K H Ong was quietly confident of a good showing from the Mumbai juniors.

Ong spoke to the players individually and had a group session later in the afternoon. They were all ears for a man who has commanded respect and been like a father figure for them. Ong hosted a lunch for the parents and the kids at the club. It's all been one happy family and the fortnight has gone off very amicably. The juniors got together and invited Ong for dinner. The surprise came in the form of a small present a framed photograph of his son Ong Beng Hee sitting with world champion Peter Nicol at a recent tournament. The coach was very touched and has put up the photograph in his proshop. The juniors have been advised on their kit and have listened to the coach's advice. Ong has experienced the tough limes when his son Beng Hee was coming up. Rackets and shoes cost a pretty penny, but for the juniors Ong has gone out of his way to help them with discounted prices, a gesture that has been much appreciated by the squad.

The proof of the pudding will no doubt come over the next five days as the players participate in Asia's biggest junior tournament. "Our aim is to make the tournament better and larger than the British Junior Open," said Mary Ong, a senior member of the organising committee. The way things have progressed in a matter of a year, this may well happen.

With the total entries being in the region of 500, the organizers have planned to hold the initial stages of the under-11 and under-13 events at the NSC Courts in Jalan Duta, where many a major event has been staged over the years. The under-15, under-17 and under-19 events are to be played at the Astaka Centre. Efforts are on to use the Lakeview Club courts as these are much closer and a final decision will be made later today.

sports@mid-day. com


Lalwani, Emanuel steal the show

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 8-1-2001

NAISHAD Lalwani upset top seed Vikram Malhotra to win the hoys under-13 title in the Air-India SRAM Squash satellite at the Bombay Gymkhana glass-back courts. Lalwani, the number two seed, won 9-4, 5-9, 9-6, 9-1 with his front court game proving to he the key factor.

He was helped by Malhotra's unforced errors but in fairness, it was the better player who won on the day. Sharing the spotlight with Lalwani was ten year-old Nikita Emanuel. Her 9-5, 9-6, 5-9, 9-7 win over Shahnaz Dastur gave her the girls under-13 title.

It was her never-say-die attitude that gladdened the hearts of a knowledgeable audience. Natasha Lall was a member of Team MID-DAY which trained with K H Ong at Kuala Lumpur last May. She has come up well and it was her experience that saw her defeat Liana Deboo in the girls under-17 final.

Deboo led 7-3 in the opener before the US Club youngster look over the reins and went on to win 9-7. 9-4. 9-2. In the boys under-11. Vir Seth recorded his third successive Victory over Jay Dalai.

It was 9-4, 9-3, 9-2 to Seth. His opponent was guilty of playing far too many half-court balls and was never really got into the match. Seth for his part, played sensibly and kept the hall in play, something which his opponent would do well to learn.

Karanpal Sethi wormed his way through to defeat Rishabh Singhvi 10-8. 9-7. 9 2 in the boys under-15. Singhi was tentative when it mattered and must be kicking himself for losing the first and second games.

Sethi, who plays at Otters Club, has been around for a while and had the skill to keep his nose in front when it mattered. The boys under-17 final was a disappointment. Mihir Sheth played quite well in the opener which he lost 9-6 to Supreet Singh but thereafter did not trouble the scorers.

Singh was another to have benefited from the Malaysian experience and has shown he has the strength to come through a series of hard matches.

Mr. Jitender Bhargava, who has just taken over as President of the Air-India Sports Control Board, gave away the prizes.

The event had attracted over 70 entries. Mention must he made of the professionals who ran the event extremely well and were always on hand to referee matches. The third leg of the satellite circuit takes place from 26-28 January at the Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana.


Indians fare well

Mid-day 31-5-2001

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 INDIAN players had a good opening day at the Milo Malaysian Junior Squash International.

Anurag Gill had the rub of the green as he beat Hansul Hashimi of Malaysia 9-7, 7-9, 9-3, 9-10,10-8 in the boy's under-17, having squandered his chance to close the match in the fourth game. Mumbai's Bhaktiveda Dhaul was two games up against local lass Jonitha Sumithiri but could not drive home the advantage. Her defeat in the under-17 was more than compensated by the Chennai trio of Joshna Chinappa, Vaidehi Reddy and Divya Rajan who dropped six points between them as they cantered into second round.

Heavy rain caused a two-hour delay at the Astaka Centre where the under-15, under-17 and under-19 events were being held. The under-19 matches had to be switched to the NSC Courts in Jalan Duta where the under-11 and under-13 were in action. Things were kept in control by the organisers and despite the unforeseen delay, the day went of smoothly.

Results: Boys under-11 (1st round): Ramit Tandon (India) bt Raja Muhammad Adarr (Malaysia) 9-0, 9-0, 9-0; Ishaan Balvani (Ind) bt Mok Wey Shem (Mal) 9-0, 9-0, 9-0 Parth Jindal (Ind) bt J Umasuthan (Mal) 9-0,9-0,9-0 Boy's under-11 (2nd round): Adeep Arif (Mal) bt Ishaan Balvani 9-6,7-9,9-2, 9-6 Jay Dalai (Ind) bt Gabriel Lim Weijie (Mal) 9-4, 9-6, 9-1.

Boys under-13 (1st round): Mahir Singh (Ind) bt Mohd Izuddin (Mal) 9-3,9-6,9-5; Harinder Pal Singh (Ind) bt Mohd Afiq Syazwan (Mal) 9-0, 9-5, 9-0. Boy's under-13 (2nd round): Harinder Pal Singh (Ind) bt Randy Lim (Mal) 3-9, 10-8, 9-6, 9-1; Jay Bhagat (Ind) bt Jasson Tan (Mal) 9-0,9-0,9-1; Naishadh Lalwani (Ind) bt Azman Shaari (Mal) 9-1, 9-1, 9-1; Sandeep Jangra (Ind) bt Amir Arif Saufan (Mal) 9-1, 9-1, 9-2; Manek Mathur (Ind) bt Ong Man Chin (Mal) 9-0, 9-1, 9-2; Vikram Malhotra (Ind) bt Low Chen Yen (Mal) 9-3, 9-0, 9-1; JoranDiwan (Ind) bt Adrian Lee (Mal) 9-2,9-2,9-0; Heng Quo Lian (Mal) bt Mahir Singh(lnd)4-9, 9-7, 9-6,9-5.Boy's under-15 (1st round): Jai Singh Sekhon (Ind) bt Han Wei Kiat (Mal) 9-4,9-2, 9-5.Boy's under-15 (2nd round): Sadkj Madraswala (Ind) bt Presad Pillai (Sab)9-0, 9-0, 9-3. Boy's under-17 (2nd round): Anurag GHI (Ind) bt Gan Ghee Ming (Mal) 9-0,9-0,9-0; Supreet Singh (Ind) bt Jude Foo Chen Horng (Sin) 9-0, 9-1, 9-1.Boys under-17 (3rd round): Anurag Gill (Ind) bt Hansul Hashimi (Mal) 9-7,7-9, 9-3, 9-10,10-8; Mohd Shahril (Mal) bt Vikas Jangra (Ind) 9-4,9-1,9-4; Supreet Singh (Ind) bt Timothy Van Ewk (Aus) 9-0,9-0,9-2. Girls under-15 (1st round): Liana Deboo (Ind) bt Jenna Foo (Mal) 9-0,9-2,9-7.Girls under-17 (1st round): Joshna Chinappa (Ind) bt Yeo Chiou Giun (Mal) 9-0, 9-1, 9-1; Jonitha Somithri (Mal) bt Bhaktiveda Dhaul (Ind) 7-9, 6-9, 9-6 9O, 9-0; Divya Rajan (Ind) bt Nik Macjan Hanum (Mal) 9-1,9-1,9-0; Vaidehi Reddy (Ind) bt Lar Kan Lin (Mal) 9-0,9-0,9-2. 


Bhagat up

Team MID-DAY downs Bukit Jalil Sports School 8-5

Mid-day 27-5-2001

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 TEAM MID-DAY heat Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) 8-5 in a hard fought three-hour encounter on Saturday. The tie, which was held at the Commonwealth Games Squash Complex, where squash made a spectacular debut in the multi-discipline event in 1998.

Jay Bhagat blew hot and cold hut was good enough in the deciding game against Calvin Lim. The Jindal trio of Ritesh Sharma, Vikas and Sandeep Jangra were on song. Their colleague Sarvesh Chauhan had a rest day.

On this trip, these soil spoken boys from Vashind have made a deep impression. Size did not matter as little Ishaan Balvani downed Leong Wei Chien a stockily built junior. Manek Mathur also impressed as he breezed past Wone Hou Chou, dropping just six points and Naishadh Lalwani appeared to have an early afternoon appointment as he trounced Presad Pillay 9-l, 9-1,9-0.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing for the Mumbai squad. There was ,1 surprise defeat for Gautam Kalani and Sadiq Madraswala lost a hard fought encounter to Romero Yap. The BJSS boy had a scoreline of 9-3 9-5 1-9 9-7. Service changed hands seven times on the last point and it needed a forehand pass to end what had been a very engrossing affair.

Team MID-DAY reached the venue early and had s chance to see the spectacular all-glass court where the main matches of the 1998 Asian Junior Championships and subsequently the Commonwealth Game where. They were awestruck by the surroundings and just abut the everyone wanted to have a hit on the court, which is a permanent structure. Many a flashbulb clicked and many a question was asked.

As has happened in the previous lies, it was the juniors who referred the matches. It was close to 1 pm when the last match ended and the entourage made it's way to the BJSS canteen to join the rest for lunch. This was the final warm-up for the Team Mid-day Junior Open, which starts on Wednesday.


Jay Bhagat bt Calvin Lim 9-1, 10-8, 4-9, 3-9, 9-3; Ishaan Balvani bt Leong Wei Chien 9-4 9-7, 6-9, 9-6; Ritesh Sharma bt Mohd. Hakimi 9-3, 9-2, 9-7; Sandeep Jangra bt N. Zuhelmi 9-1, 9-3, 9-2; Naishad Lalwani bt Presad Pillay 9-1, 9-1, 9-0; Manek Mathur bt Wone Hou Chou 9-0, 9-4, 9-2; Priyanka Yadav bt Betrice Goh 9-0, 9-0 , 9-0, 9-1; Jay Dalal lost to Mohd Hisham 5-9, 7-9, 5-9; Vikram Malhotra lost to Low Tsu Khian 7-9, 3-9, 4-9; Gautam Kalani lost to Mohd Fadzly 9-10, 3-9, 0-9; Liana Deboo lost to Pang Khai Khim 9-10, 10-8, 2-9, 2-9; Sadiq Madraswala lost o Romero Yap 3-9, 5-9, 9-1, 7-9

 Joshna seeded number one

Mid-day 22-5-2001

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 INDIA'S national women's champion Joshna Chinappa has been given pride of place in the girls under-17 at the Mito All Stars Junior Squash International which is scheduled to commence at the Astaka Courts tomorrow.

Her Chennai compatriot Vaidehi Reddy has been seeded to meet her in the final whilst Mumbai's Supriya Balsekar has been placed in the 5-8 category. Thirty-two Indian players are participating in this tournament which is Asia's largest. There is Indian representation in nine of the 10 events, the girls' under-11 being the odd one out. Alisha Mashruwala is seeded in the 5-8 bracket for the girls  under-13, Ramit Tandon has a similar placing in the boys under-11 and Gautam Kalani has made it a menage et trios in the boys under-15.

Kalani is part of Team Mid-Day which is training with KH Ong at the Lakeview Club in Subang Jaya. The coach seemed undaunted by the seedings. "I expect them to do well in the tournament," he said. "There should be a few surprises."

A record 483 entries have been received for the tournament. The overseas participation comes from eight countries Australia, India, Japan, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Singapore, Netherlands and Pakistan. Between them, they make up 125 entries with the largest contingent coming from Down Under with 45 players. The hosts, who have 358 players spread over 10 events, have been given top billing in five of them.

The winners of the under-19, under-17 and under-15 stand to gain $1,000 each. Approximately $10,000 is on offer for these age-groups whilst the winners of the under-13 and under-11 have attractive gifts as prizes.

Seedings (Malaysian unless stated) Girls  under-13   (31  entries):  Nabilla Ariffin, Low Wee Wern, Ashley Starr (Australia),  Sagita  Paraminglam;  5-8 Alisha   Mashruwala   (India),   Tamryn Beveridge    (Australia),   Lara   Miller (Australia) and Pushppa Devi (Alisha is the lone Indian entry). U-15 (32 entries): Skye Miller (Australia) 2 June Tiong (Liana Deboo is the lone Indian entry).

U-17 (32 entries): Joshna Chinappa (India), Vaidehi Reddy (India); 3-4 Sally Looi and Cherelle Kelly (Australia); 5-8 Naarah Rodwell (Australia), Supriya Balsekar (India), Sahar Jasmina and Lim Yoke Wah (Joshna Chinappa, Vaidehi Reddy, Supriya Balsekar, Shubika Bilka and Divya Rajan are the Indian entries). U-19 (13 entries): Tricia Chuah, Kirsty Knight (Australia) (Rachita Vora is the lone Indian entry)

Boys under-11 (57 entries): Spencer Davis (Australia), Ivan Yuen, Elroy Leong and Kamran Khan; 5-8 Ramit Tandon (India), Wong Xi Liang (Singapore), Kikoyu Itagati (Japan) and Vincent Chew (Ishaan Balvani, Parth Jindal, Jay Dalai and Ramit tandon are the Indian entries). U-13 (97 entries): Eivin Keo, Matt Reece (Australia) (Harinder Pal Singh, Mahir Singh, Naishadh Lalwani, Sandeep Jangra, Joran Diwan, Vikram Malhotra, Jay Bhagat and Manek Mathur are the Indian entries)

U-15 (80 entries): Ben Reece (Australia), Kapil Nesan; 5-8. Gautam Kalani (India), Ali Bader Al Ramezi (Kuwait), Neil Hoevanaais (Netherlands) and Tan Tze Hion (Ritesh Sharma, Sarvesh Chauhan, Saurav Ghoshal, Sadiq Madraswala, Jai Singh Sekhon, Mrinal Todi and Gautam Kalani are the Indian entries). U-17 (68 entries): Jhie Gough (Australia), Dylan Bennett (Netherlands) (Anurag Gill, Vikas Jangra and Supreet Singh are the Indian entries)

U-19 (34 entries): Mohd Azlan Iskandar, Mubashir Gul (Singapore) (Deepak Yadav is the lone Indian entry).


Great Ghoshal

Mid-day 2-6-2001

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 SAURAV Ghoshal was India's star on quarter-final's day at the Milo Malaysian Junior Squash International. His 9-1, 10-8, 9-2 win over the top seed Ben Reece (Australia) in the boy's under-15 had a touch of class. Victories for Alisha Mashruwala (girl's under-13), Joshna Chinappa and Vaidehi Reddy (girl's under-17) gave India four players in their respective age group semifinals.

Ghoshal kept his cool under pressure in the second game and was good value for his straight games win. He was cheered on by a vociferous Indian entourage who ensured that everybody at the Astaka Centre knew of their presence. Ghoshal's win was the only upset of the day which saw the fancied players make their way through to the last four stage. The 14-year-old Ghoshal trains with Dilip Tripathi at the Calcutta Racket Club and has been a finalist at the junior nationals on three occasions. Last year he had lost in the fourth round but has come on a great deal since.

The morning session had seen Jay Dalai (boy's under-11) and Harinder Pal Singh (boy's under-13) being beaten. Dalai could not match strides with the number two seed Mat Reece (Australia) but Harinder went down with funs blazing. It was 9-5, 9-5, 9-2 to Reece but the scores do not indicate how well the young sikh played. The Aussie's win was some consolation for his elder brother's defeat at the hands of Ghoshal.

Chinappa is a warm favourite for the girl's under-17 title. But the manner in which she played yesterday was reason for concern. She was good enough to beat Lim Yoke Wah (Malaysia) in four games but needs to be much sharper in the semis where she meets Australia's Cherelle Kelly. Mashruwala booked her place in the last four of the girl's under-13 with a comfortable 9-5, 9-5, 9-5 win over Australia's Ashley Starr. The petite Murnbai damsel runs into Malaysia's Sagita Paramalingam next. Mashruwala's Mumbai compatriot the third round of the girl's under-15. She had top seeded Australia Skye Miller as her opponent today and  bowed out gracefully

Results (quarter-finals):

Boys under-11:1-Spencer Davis (Aus) bt Aiman Aziz (Mal) 9-4,9-4, 9-0; Vincent Chew (Mal) bt Mohd Kharul B Rahimi ( Mal) 9-5, 9-0, 9-1; Kamran Khan (Mal) bt Lee Calvin ( Mal) 9-2, 9-4, 9-2; 2-lvan Yuen (Mal) bt Jay Dalai (Ind) 9-4, 9-0,9-1.

Boys under-13:1-Elvin Keo (Mal) bt Tom Steward (Aus) 9-10, 9-3, 9-2, 9-5; Lim Lu Tjun (Mal) bt Marcus Phua (Sin) 7-9. 9-3, 0-9,  10-8, 9-5; Jesmond Low (Mal) bt Mohd Asyraf Azan (Mal) 9-7, 9-7, 7-9, 6-9, 9-4; 2-Mat Reece (Aus) bt Harinder Pal Singh (Ind) 9-5, 9-5, 9-2.

Boys under-15: Saurav Ghoshal (Ind) bt 1-Ben Reece (Aus) 9-1, 10-8, 9-2; Risto Krauss (Aus) bt Russell Wegner (Aus) 9-6, 9-6, 9-0; Mohd Azfar Azan (Mal) bt Mohd Izam Mahazer (Mal) 9-4, 9-2, 9-4, 2-Kapil Nesan (Mal) bt Mohd Nafizwan (Mal) 9-5, 6-9, 9-2, 9-1.

Boys under-17: 1-Jhie Gough (Aus) bt Woo Yew Hong (Mal) 9-0, 9-4, 9-3; Dick Lau Siu Wai (HK) bt Mohd Shahril (Mal) 5-9, 9-1, 9-5, 9-7; Timothy Arnold (Mal) bt Alasdair Alien (Aus) 9-0, 4-9, 10-8, 3-9, 9-0; 2-Dylan Bennert (Hol) bt Wong Kin Lee (Mal) 9-0, 9-6, 4-9, 9-2.

Boys under-19: 1-Mohd Azlan Iskandar (Mal) bt Timothy Arnold (Mal) 9-2, 9-0, 9-1; Dylan Bennett (Hol) bt Marcus Yeap (Mal) 9-3, 9-2, 9-2; Kelvin Ho (Mal) bt Ziyad Tareq Al Owaish (Kuw) 4-9, 9-6, 5-9, 9-2, 9-2; Mubashir Gul (Sin) bt Michael Arcidiacono (Aus) 9-7, 9-0, 9-5

Girls under-11: 1-Zulijah Azan (Mal) bt Heng Yi Lian (Mal) 9-2, 9-1, 9-0; Jeshila Maniam (Mal) bt Roobim Sattampalam (Mal) 9-1, 9-7, 9-4; Chua Wen Ya (Sin) bt P Vanaja (Mal) 9-0, 9-2, 9-0; 2-Nesserine Ariffin (Mal) bt Asami Ninomiya (Jap) 9-7, 9-1, 9-5.

Girls under-13: 1-Alisha Mashruwala (Ind) bt Ashley Starr (Aus) 9-5, 9-5, 9-5; Kimberley Bessell (Aus) bt Sagita Parmalingam (Mal) 9-2, 9-5, 9-4; Low I Wee Wem (Mal) bt Pushppa Dewi (Mal) 9-7,9-2, 9-2; 2-Nabilla Ariffin (Mal) bt Lara Miller (Aus) 9-3, 9-4, 9-2.

Girls under-15: 1-Skye Miller (Aus) bt Liana Deboo (Ind) 9-0, 9-4, 9-1; Munirah Arif Kor (Mal) bt Nora Ashikin (Mal) 9-1,9-0,9-2; Ho Baoxia (Sin) bt Siti Munirh (Mal) 9-0, 9-5, 9-0; 2-June Tiong (Mal) bt Tan Poh Yong (Sin) 9-5, 9-0,9-1.

Girls under-17:1-Joshna Chinappa (Ind) bt Lim Yoke Wah (Mal) 9-0, 7-9, 9-1, 9-3; Cherelle Kelly (Aus) bt Delia Arnold (Mal) 10-9, 9-2, 9-10, 9-1; Sally Looi (Mal) bt Joanne Jee (Mal) 9-1, 9-4, 9-2; 2-Vaidehi Reddy (Ind) bt Sahar Jasmina (Mal) 9-4, 9-1,9-4.

Girls under-19: 1-Tricia Chuah (Mal) bt Teng Ooi Ean (Mal) 9-1, 9-5, 7-9, 9-3; Georgina Davis (Aus) bt Jemma Saxby (Aus) 9-2, 9-0, 9-3; Tracey Michell (Aus) bt Karen Lau Siu Ying (HK) 9-5, 9-5, 0-9, 2-9, 9-5; 2-Kristy Knight (Aus) bt Daniella Davis (Aus) 9-6, 10-8,9-2


Team Mid-day’s day out  : (P-53)

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 17-5-2001

Kaula Lumpur, May 17 The sign outside the Lakeview Club squash courts in Subang Jaya said, “Please do not disturb. Team Mid-day juniors are hard at work,” Indeed they were. It was an early start this morning with a three-kilometer run followed by court drills and match play. Coach K H Ong broke them in gently after their arrival on Saturday and has gradually built up the active level.

“We have done 13 drills so far” said Maneck Mathur who is on his second trip with Team MID-DAY,” Mr. Ong has been his usual wonderful self,” The kids dote on the soft-spoken coach who has proved his mettle. The outstanding performance of his son Ong Beng Hee, currently ranked at number nine in the world, is proof of the pudding.

“We were hoping to meet Beng Hee,” said Vikram Malhotra, winner of the under-13 title at the recent Otters Old Castle Open and one who has come up a lot since his training here last year, “We follow his progress and are very happy he is doing well.”

Not to be outdone, the girls have got into the groove. There are four of them-Priyanka Yadav. Shubika Bilka, Liana Deboo and Bhaktiveda Dhaul. “It is very professional. It is tough but we are enjoying the training,” said Priyanka Yadav, who has been given the additional charge of being the team leader.

Friday is the day of rest. The weather gods have been king and all going well, there is a trip planned to Genting Islands for the day. The team needs a day to recuperate before their weekend match against the MPPJ juniors.

The camaraderie with the local official is very good. On the 26th Team Mid-day has a match against  the Bukit Jalil Juniors and the venue is the squash complex in the Commonwealth Games arena. Squash apart, it’ll be an experience for them to see the venue of the 1998 Games.


A squashing day for India: (P-28)

Raju Chainani
Mid-day 17-7-2001

PENANG: Joshna Chinappa and Vaidehi Reddy provided the upsets in round two of the ninth world junior women's squash championships. Both had wins over players who were seeded in the 9-16 bracket.

Chinappa started the ball rolling when she beat Dagrnar Feddern (Denmark) 6-9, 9-3, 9-0, 9-4 in 27 minutes. Reddy had a much rougher time and needed to keep her cool under pressure in beat Milja Dorenbos (Netherlands) 10-8, 9-6, 8-10, 9-4 in a 39-minute encounter.

However, there was no such luck for Supriya Balsekar as she went our 10-9 9-4, 9-5 to Frances Ho (Hong Kong) in 28 minutes.

In the third round, both have unseeded Australians as opponents. Chinappa runs into Kasey Brown while Reddy takes on Felicity Goodall. The Indian national champion had no business 10 lose the first game against Feddern. She looked strong at 6-3 but there began a spell of nine points in which she did little right. The pendulum had swung and Chinappa was soon a game and 0-3 down. She was good enough to rise to the occasion. A relentless attack followed, Feddern wilted and the next 18 points went to the Indian. Chinappa soon put the issue beyond doubt as she led 7-1 in the fourth and though Feddern pur together a couple of winners, it was too late for any comebacks. "I lost my concentration in the first game. There are no excuses. I knew I had to set things in order. I started playing to length and was able to cut down on the errors," Chinappa said. This was a good result for the Indian number one. Her 18-year-old opponent was a quarter-finalist in the European Junior Open and is ranked at number two in Denmark. Feddern played the 1999 world junior girls championships at Antwerp.

World referee Chris Sinclair was in the hot seat. She had officiated Vaidehi Reddy's match in the first round and had ended up with a patch of wet paint on her trousers. Nothing so dramatic hap pened this afternoon and the lady who had once been told by Jahangir that "A woman's place should be at home" had a relatively peaceful time. The Chennai lass led 4-2 and 7-5 in the opener, saw her opponent fight back and reach game ball with a superb forehand crosscourt and then came up with two superb winners to close the game. Reddy was put to the test and showed plenty of character in coining through. The Indians have their best two in the round of 32 and there is more than a ray of hope for them.

Press Articles of Raju Chainani (2000)


MID-DAY tyros win

Mid-day 15-5-2000.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15. The MID-DAY junior squash team defeated The Lakeview Club 8-7 last afternoon. It was an 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 Salty Looi. Three of  the matches went the distance 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; Siddarth 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 Sec 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; Shaifee Shelke beat Diana Ong 9-0,9-4,9-3; Siddarth Samantaray beat Nahan Raja 9-6.4-9, 10-8, 9-4.

Team MID-DAY get cracking in Kuala Lumpur

Mid-day 14/5/2000

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 THE Team MID-DAY junior squash team swung into action at the Lakeview Club on Friday evening, a few hours after reaching their hotel. A light lunch with coach K H Ong at the luxurious Holiday Villa in Subang Jay a went down well as they players had time to talk discuss the forthcoming fortnight.

The Air-India crew gave the players and accompanying entourage a red carpet treatment on board. There was a bit of fun too and the kids were full of beans when they got to the final destination.

There is a lot of Indian interest at present in Kuala Lumpur. The junior hockey team has done well. K P S Gill, president of the Indian Hockey Federation, was on the same flight as the squash group and if all goes to plan, some of the MID-DAY team would be at the Bukit Jalil Stadium on Sunday night to cheer the Indian boys in the final against South Korea.

Not so sweet have been the results in the Thomas Cup but it is the world's best who are in action. The finals are on 21st and there should be time to visit the badminton venue. A day trip to Penang has been planned for the 26th. It is finals day at the Malaysian National Games and Team MID-DAY would have the opportunity of seeing Ong Beng Hee and Nicol David, the current world junior boy's and girls champions in action.

Coach K H Ong felt the Mumbai kids have to set themselves goals and work towards achieving them. "It is all about hard work and dedication", he said, "I have seen ft with my son. You have a couple often year olds who have immense potential. This is a new environment for them so one needs to be patient".

Scenic setting

Mid-day 20/8/2000

CAIRO, August 19 THE world's leading men and women squash players return to the sport's most spectacular setting later this week for the $1,10,000 Al-Ahram International, staged on an open air court alongside the Great Pyramids of Giza, from August 20-25.

Top seed in the men's event will be world No 1 and world champion Peter Nicol. Arch rival Jonathon Power, the world No 2 from Canada, is seeded to meet the Scot in the final in what would be their 21st career meeting, with the score currently standing at ten wins apiece.

Al-Ahram interest, however, will undoubtedly be focused on local superstar Ahmed Barada, the 23-year-old world No 3 who is making his comeback in a PSA Tour ranking event since surviving a double stabbing in his back outside his home in Cairo last March. Barada is seeded No 3 and is the event's draw card, having won the title in 1998.

Last year, the event took on the status of World Open in which Barada's fans cheered him into his third final in four years, where he lost to Peter Nicol. Favorite in the women's event will be England's world champion and world No 1 Cassie Champion, who is expected to meet New Zealand's No 2 seed Leilani Joyce, the British Open champion, in the final on August 25.

Australia's World Grand Prix champion Carol Owens is seeded to reach the semi-finals whilst the event's dark horse may well be another Australian Sarah Fitzgerald, the ninth seed also from Melbourne. The three-times former world champion will be making her second come back this year after returning to the WISPA World Tour in January following knee surgery and winning five successive titles.

Indians on top

Mid-day 10/7/2000

HONG KONG, July 10 INDIA had a profitable opening day in the team event at the 10th Asian Senior Squash Championships. The men were in action in the morning and evening. They beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in their first tie and Singapore by the same margin. The women sailed past Chinese Taipei 3-0 but they have problems as Mekhala Subedar is unwell and a lot depends on her for today's match against Japan.

Ritwik Bhattacharya dominated the first and second games against Lim Jit Uei. He led 6-3 in the third and served for the match at 8-5. The Singapore number one persevered, came up with a superb forehand volley and then left his opponent stranded with a disguised backhand boast The game went to extra points and Bhattacharya nosed ahead with a wrong footing backhand crosscourt and his ensuing serve found the back wall nick to end this 30 minute encounter 9-5, 9-3, 10-8 to Bhattacharya. An erratic Mohammed Rizal made Manish Chothrani's task a lot easier.

"Rizal has not played in any competition since last August's SEA Games. He has had to do national service and has been working in the police force", said Singapore coach Fahim Gul, "But that does not detract from Manish's disciplined approach. He deserved to win".

Dhiraj Singh defeated Dermadi Ali 9-4, 10-8, 9-5 in the third rubber. The soft spoken Indian has been going about his task in a very business like fashion. He won in 27 minutes and though the second game went to extra points, Singh never looked like losing it. India play Malaysia in their conclud­ing Pool A tie tomorrow but the two wins today have put them into the top eight finishers.

Deepali Anvekar, Vaidehi Reddy and Supriya Balsekar took just 34 minutes between them, dropping only eleven points as India swamped Chinese Taipei 3-0. Reddy beat Pan Kueiyeh 9-3,9-2,9-0 to start the rout, Anvekar breezed past Hung Meihsia 9-0, 9-1,9-0 and Balsekar disposed of Huang Weiting 9-1, 9-2, 9-3. But the main concern for the Indians is Mekhala Subedar's health.

"She was feeling dizzy and vomited this morning. We called the doctor who felt it could be a viral infection. In this condition she cannot play tomorrow. I hope she recovers by the evening because we must beat Japan to qualify for the semi-finals. The draw has been good for us and the tie against Chinese Taipei was very easy," said coach Bhuvaneshwari Kumari.

Earlier, India beat Sri Lanka. Manish Chotrani put India in the lead when he beat Navrn Samarasinghe 9-7, 9-0, 9-7 in 29 minutes. Ritwik Bhattacharya beat Saman Tillekeratne 9-4, 10-8, 7-9, 2-9, 9-6 in 77 minutes. Dhiraj Singh made it a clean sweep with a comfortable 19-minute 9-4,9-4, 9-0 win over Hirantha Goonesena.



Mid-day 12-5-2000
By Raju Chainani

TEAM MID-DAY left for Kuala Lumpur last night where they are to begin a 15-day long squash training period starting Saturday. "Playing in a different environment is important for the youngsters," said SRAM secretary Mahendra Agarwal.

" MID-DAY has put together this programme and has sponsored Chandrakant Pawar's son, Sanjay. It is very encouraging for the game."

Kuala Lumpur has fast developed into the hotbed of world squash. Since hosting the 1989 Men's World Open, an event which saw Jansher beat Chris Dittmar in arguably the best final in the history of the championships, the Malaysians have sponsored the Asian Seniors (1994), Asian Juniors (1998), World Women's Open (1996), World Men's Open (1997) and the Commonwealth Games, apart from a number of smaller events tike the Milo Open, the YTL Open and the Head Satellites.

It is into these surroundings that Team MID-DAY is headed for. The juniors and parents who have decided to come along for a holiday would be staying at The Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya, adjacent to the Lakeview Squash Club where the training is to take place.

MID-DAY chairman Khalid A-H Ansari is specially flying to Kuala Lumpur. He and H R H Tunku Imran, president Emeritus of the World Squash Federation have been instrumental in setting up the exchange programme.

The juniors shall have a chance of mixing with royalty Tunku Imran is hosting an official dinner for the group on Monday. As the entourage left Mumbai, there was a tinge of excitement and expectation. Now it's time for the serious business as squash becomes top of the agenda.

The select juniors who left for Malaysia are: Aditya Manjrekar, Ishaan Bahvani, Manek Mathur, Natasha Lall, Rachita Vora, Rahil Shah, Sanjay Pawar, Shailee, Shelke, Supreet Singh, Vikram Malhotra, Yogin  Thakur,  Bipin  Batra  and Siddharth Samantrey.

These Mumbai squash juniors will be training with former Malaysian international K H Ong. The tour is part of an exchange programme between MID-DAY and Petra Foundation of Malaysia.

Byebye, India!

By Raju Chainani 
Mid-day 7/7/2000

HONG KONG, July 6 SECOND seed Rebecca Chiu had to be at her Thursday best to quell a spirited performance from Mekhala Subedar in the quarter-finals of the 10th Asian Senior Squash  Championships.

The Indian national champion led 6-0 in the opener and had a chance to dose this game when she served at 8-7. It needed a superb backhand drop from Chiu to level the scores and she had two more winners to take this 13-minute game. Subedar never gave up. She ran for every ball and made her experienced opponent work for her points. It was 10-8, 9-3 ,9-3 to the local favourite, the clock stopping at 38 minutes.

"She should have won the first. She began very positively and though she lost, it was an excellent performance," coach Bhuvaneshwari Kumari said. The Indian men's challenge came to an end in the third round.

Malaysia's Ong Beng Hee beat Ritwik Bhattacharya 10-8, 9-4, 9-1 in 37 minutes. The story of this match revolved around the first game, and once Bhattacharya had lost it there were to be no comebacks.

Sixth-seeded Zubair Jahan Khan of Pakistan beat Manish Chotrani 9-1, 10-8, 9-2 and second seed Kenneth Low (Malaysia) ended India's interest with a 13 minute 9-6, 9-3, 9-0 win over Dhiraj Singh.

But the star of the day for the Indians was Mekhala Subedar. She was most impressive in her 22 minute 9-0, 9-4, 9-0 demolition of the number eight seed Serene Lee (Singapore) in the third round, played in the morning. Subedar played with controlled aggression and her opponent was always playing second fiddle. The Singapore girl made many feel she had just come out of school.

Bhuvaneshwari Kumari was delighted with the result. "In the past they have had long matches, usually five games. Today I was confident Mekhala would win, but I didn't think it would be so easy. She is hitting the ball well and changing the pace of the game. It was a very good performance," said the 16-time national champion, who had reached the semi­finals of the 1992 Asian Seniors in Mumbai.

Ritwik Bhattacharya let top seed Ong Beng Hee off the hook in the first game of their third round encounter. He did well to rally from 2-4 and when he served for the game at 8-4, he had Beng Hee on the ropes. The world junior champion was snatching at volleys and three unforced errors made matters worse.

To his credit, Beng Hee hung in there, saved two gameballs and fought back to win the game over extra points.

Bhattacharya could not convert the chances that came his way and found the tin four times. The top seed took control of the match from there on. "I was lucky to win the opening game. Ritwik played superbly. He was taking the ban early and put ting me under pressure," Beng Hee said. "Had I managed to take the first game, I feel I had a chance of beating him. It is the unforced errors that proved costly," Bhattacharya said.

Results Mens's Quarter-final Ong Beng Hee (Malaysia) bt Zubair Jahan Khan (Pakistan) 8-10, 9-4, 9-7, 9-1; Shamsul Islam Khan   (Pakistan)   bt   Yap   Kok  Four

(Malaysia) 3-9, 9-4, 9-4, 9-10, 9-6; Mansoor Zaman (Pakistan) bt Ajaz Ahmet (Pakistan) 9-5, 9-7, 10-8; Kenneth Low (Malaysia) bt Abdul Faheem Khan (Hong Kong).

Women Nicol David (Malaysia) bt Tricia Chuah (Malaysia) 9-10, 10-8, 9-4, 9-6; Kuan Choy Lin (Malaysia) bt Della Lee (Singapore) 9-3, 0-9, 10-8, 9-0; Sharon Wee (Malaysia) bt Christina Mak (Hong Kong) 9-6, 9-4, 9-2; Rebecca Chiu (Hong Kong) bt Mekhala Subedar (India) 10-8, 9-3, 9-3.

Indians set to thrive (P-49)

By Raju Chainani 
Mid-day 5/7/2000

HONG KONG, July 4 EIGHT Indian players and three officials make up the contingent for the 10th Asian Senior Squash Championships which begin at the Hong Kong SRA Courts today.

India's third string, Navneet Narain has the honour of playing on centre court and his opponent is top seed Ong Beng Hee (Malaysia). National champion Manish Chothrani and Ritwik Bhattacharya also have their first round matches slated for today whilst Dhiraj Singh is on later.

The girls are luckier as they have afternoon matches.

The squad had just about checked into the hotel at 5 pm last evening. They did get to the courts, a ten minute taxi ride away, around 6 p.m. Considering the door to door time was twelve hours or more, depending on whether they travelled from Chennai, Delhi or Mumbai, the Indians have little time to settle in.

Fortunately, Chothrani and Bhattacharya appear to have easy matches. Nevertheless, when close to $ 10,000 is being spent on sending a team to a major event like the Asian Championship, there is a definite requirement for the players to have sufficient time to get used to the conditions. Meanwhile, Malaysia's Ong Beng Hee and Nicol David, the reigning world junior boy's and girl's champions respectively, are aiming for the golden double. The task for Beng Hee is much tougher than that for Nicol David.

Although the Pakistanis are not the same force, Mansoor Zaman, Shamsul Islam Khan, Ajaz Ahmet. Zubair Jahan Khan and Hong Kong's Abdul Faheem Khan could make life interesting for the top seed. Of the eight men who are seeded, only Faheem Khan is a previous winner.

He represented Pakistan in the 1990 Asian championships at Calcutta, migrated to Hong Kong soon thereafter and won the Asian title at Peshawar in 1992 defeating Zubair Jahan Khan. The women's event looks to be a straight fight between Nicol David and local lass Rebecca Chiu.

They are currently ranked at 37 and 38 on the WISPA world list but the 16 year old Malaysian has had the better of the exchanges, particularly during the last year. International referees have been flown down by the organizers for the event. Peter Highstead (New Zealand), Munir Shah (Singapore) and Yogendra Singh (India) have the colourful but controversial Australian lady Chris Sinclair as the fourth. She made world news at the 1991 Australian Open. Sinclair was in the hot seat in the final between Jahangir and Chris Dittmar.

The six times world champion was most upset with her officiating and suggested, "A woman's place is at home". Undeterred, Sinclair responded that she would love to have breakfast with Jahangir.

Squashing success

Mid-day 7/9/2000 
By Raju Chainani

SIMPLY Squash, Asia's popular squash magazine, has completed a decade. And Raju Chainani, it's editor is proud Not often do scribes get lauded for their efforts but the magazine's editor who also contributes to MID-DAY, received his share of accolades at the Bombay Gymkhana last night.

Former Mumbai sheriff Nana Chudasama, MID-DAY chairman Khalid A-H Ansari and the squash fraternity of Mumbai praised Chainani's dedication and devotion to the game which has seen his magazine grow from strength to strength.

Prominent in Simply Squash's fist of highs is the fact that it has covered events in 32 cities from Cairo to Yokohama. To mark the occasion Chainani has put together a special issue called Simply Ten Celebrating Ten Years of Simply Squash winch was released yesterday by Ansari, president of the Squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra. The special publication is embellished with pieces from some of squash's leading writers like Richard Eaton, Colin McQuillan and Chainani himself.

Top players tike Geoff Hunt and Sarah Fitz-Gerald have penned pieces too.


Indian squash squad returns In batches

By Raju Chainani Mid-day 14/7/2000

HONG KONG, July 14 THE Indian squash players left in three batches yesterday. Women's team coach Bhuvaneshwari Kumari, Dhiraj Singh, Navneet Narain and Ritwik Bhattacharya had to change their flights as their seats on Singapore Airlines were wait listed.

They had to have the tickets endorsed to Air-India for the early evening flight to Delhi. It is sometimes difficult to comprehend how a national squad has travelled with unconfirmed seats.

One batch left for Chennai and another for Mumbai The weather conditions in Mumbai are reason for concern as news has filtered in about heavy rains during the last ten days. Coach Cyrus Poncha is Mumbai bound and on Friday night is scheduled to leave for Milan for the world juniors.

News about happenings at the AGM of the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) was doing the rounds at the farewell dinner last night. Mokhzani Mahathir, the current ASF President is contemplating to stand for another term of four years.

The elections arc due to be held during the Asian Junior Championships at Chennai in January 2001.

It is learnt that there has been some canvassing for N Ramachandran but should Mahathir, the son of the Malaysian Prime Minister stand for re election, it could be a no contest. Ramachandran along with India's team manager S Subramaniam and referee Munir Sait attended the AGM. Subramaniam was conspicuous by his absence in India's match against Hong Kong for the third place. Ramachandran objected to the organisers having invited international referee Yogendra Singh directly and not through the SRFI. He was politely but firmly told that Yogendra had been called because of his qualifications and also because the organisers felt the regional referees should be given first preference.

Letters had been sent to all who are on the list and Yogendra had confirmed his availability. When told about this, Bhuvaneshwari Kumari who is Yogendra's sister, was at a loss for words.


Mixed bag

By Raju Chainani 11th July 2000.

HONG KONG, July 11 INDIA defeated Japan 3-0 to enter the semifinals of the 10th Asian Senior Squash Championships. They meet Pakistan tomorrow whilst Malaysia play Hong Kong in the other semifinal.

The Indian women were caught out by the Japanese and though Mekhala Subedar put them ahead, Deepali Anvekar and Vaidehi Reddy both lost in straight games. As a result the girls are in the play off for positions 5-9. Ritwik Bhattacharya defeated Yoshihiro Watanabe in the first rubber. The Indians could have won in straight games but that was not to be. He was 4-0 up in the second and later had his chance at 7-5. The attempts at the inch perfect volley did not work and Watanabe drew level with a clev­erly disguised forehand boast.

These two games had lasted 27 minutes and had taken their toll on the Japanese player. He was a spent force thereafter, had a three minute timeout in the fourth game as he strained a thigh muscle and it was soon all over 9-6 8-10 9-1, 9-0 to Bhattacharya after 35 minutes, the last two games lasting a total of eight minutes.

Manish Chotrani had the left handed Akira as his opponent. The Indian champion had to work hard for his points. He was good enough to do so though the error rate was higher than what the doctor ordered 9-4,9-5, 9-3 to Chotrani in 45 minutes with the games lasting 18, 14 and 13 minutes respectively.

The third rubber was of academic interest with Dhiraj Singh defeating Kimihiko Sano 9-0, 9-4, this match being the best of three. India play Pakistan tomorrow, a team they have never beaten so far in the previous Asian Senior Championships.

The ladies match had its twists and turns. Mekhala Subedar had been unwell yesterday. She lost the first game to Mami Nishio and trailed 3-6 in the second The Deolali girl rallied and her perseverance paid off. It was equally close in the third and at 7-7 it was anybody's game.

The Indian champion polished it off with a forehand boast and then raced away with the fourth game. 4-9, 9-7, 9-7,9-1 to Subedar after 53 minutes. Kaoru Tateno is an experienced customer. She was helped by Deepali Anvekar playing a front court game.

Tateno won 9-6,9-3,9-3 in 24 minutes and the semi-final spot hinged on the deciding  rubber. In fairness, Anvekar tried her best but it just wasn't good enough. Young Vaidehi reddy was no match for Eri Tsuchida.

The Japanese number three coasted to a 94, 9-3,9-7 win, the match lasting 27 minutes. Reddy as ahead at 3-0 and 5-2 in the third before the geisha act turned the tide.

"You cannot blame Deepali or Vaidehi Both are relatively inexperienced and were playing seasoned opponents. Mekhala played superbly. She showed a tot of character, slowed the game down in the second and it worked well", said coach Bhuvaneshwari Kumari The thought remains of what might have happened had   Sohini  Kumari   and   Joshna Chinappa been included in the team. The chances of a medal would certainly have been very, very good. But that is water under the South China Sea now.

The Indian men went on court against Malaysia with a loser's attitude. Ritwik Bhattacharya had played well against Ong Beng Hee in the individual event Today, he was bundled out in 18 minutes, the score of 9-1,9-2, 9-1 speaking for itself.

Beng Hee felt Bhattacharya ok not try. Worse was to follow as Manish Chotrani won the opener against Kenneth Low and Dhiraj Singh did likewise in his match with Yap Kok Four. The lack of effort was evident Kenneth Low went on to win 8-10,9-3,9-2,9-5 after 27 minutes.

It was being said that the Indians did not wish to exert themselves as they had a tough evening match against Japan. Suddenly India were scared of a country who have played in only three Asian Championships and have always finished web below us.

Results of the preliminary stage MEN
Pool A: Malaysia beat India 3-0; Singapore beat Sri Lanka 2-1 Finishing order 1.Malaysia 2.1ndia 3.Singapore 4.SriLanka

Pool B: Pakistan beat Hong Kong 3-0; Japan beat Kuwait 3-0 Finishing order 1.Pakistan 2. Hong Kong 3. Japan 4.Kuwait

Pool C: Philippines beat Chinese Taipei 3-0 Finishing order: 1 .Philippines 2.Chinese Taipei 3.Macau

Pool D: Thailand beat Korea 3-0 Fishing Order : 1.Thailand 2 Qatar 3. Korea

Men's Event (Stage 2): Positions 1~& Malaysia beat Thailand 3-0; Hong Kong beat Singapore 3-0; India beat Japan 3-0; Pakistan beat Philippines 3-0; Positions 9-14: Qatar beat Macau 3-0 ( winner to play Sri Lanka) ; Korea beat Chinese Taipei 3-0 ( winner to play Kuwait) WOMEN Pool A: Malaysia beat Japan 3-0; India beat Thailand 3-0; Japan beat India 2-1 Pool B: Sri Lanka beat Korea 3-0); Hong Kong beat Singapore 3-0; Singapore beat Sri Lanka 3-0.


Squashing glory

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 11-1-2000

MAHARASHTRA squash was on a high in the year 2000. The juniors won five of the seven titles at the nationals and the seniors provided the icing on the cake with a clear cut victory in the interstate championship. Manish Chotrani, Bikram Uberoi, Mekhala Subedar and Priyanka Yadav had their moments of glory on the senior circuit. It was, however, the little ones who stood out. Vikram Malhotra, Jay Bhagat, Jay Dalai, Mihir Sheth, Maneek Mathur, Nikhil and Vir Seth, Sahil Vora, Supreet Singh. Aditya Manjrekar, Bipin Batra, Karanpal Sethi, Junaid Nathani, Vishal and Mihir Kapoor, Ishaan Balwani, the Jindal boys, Rachita Vora. Alisha Mashruwalla and Natasha Lal... they were the ones fighting it out at many an event. The results were by no means a foregone conclusion a healthy sign for the sport. If one were to handpick three from this lot, it would be Vikram Malhotra, Sahil Vora and Alisha Mashruwalla. Interestingly, Vora opted out of the under-17 category and chose to play the under-19 event at the nationals. He reached the semi-finals and is in line for a place in the squad for the Asian juniors.

There was success for Malhotra and Mashruwalla at the Hong Kong Junior Open. Last week there was a fourth place finish for little Ishaan Balwani at the Scottish Junior Open, where the arctic conditions did not dampen his spirit. Such keenness, such application, such results make the association, parents and supporters look with a sense of pride to the future.

There were more tournaments in Mumbai for the kids and the seniors. The Hong Kong Bank sponsored Maharashtra State Open had a record purse of Rs 450,000. The RaboBank Indian Junior Open, the Little Masters and the Otters Junior Open gave the younger lot plenty to play for. Air-India came in with a junior satellite and there were seven tickets on offer for the respective age-group winners. The Motilal Sanghi inter-club event has become part of lore and continues to grow every year. Coaching schemes increased and, towards end of the year, world-renowned Chris Clark conducted a clinic for the kids. The Indian Squash Professionals put together a series of events and, for the first time, there was a tournament in Kolhapur.

As 2001 moves into the second gear, there are positive movements towards the public courts. The eggs have not been put in one basket. Instead, several leading lights have been approached and it is all looking good. The recent elections of the Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) saw Khalid A-H Ansari and his team be reelected to another term of office by a thumping 9-1 majority.


Press Articles of Raju Chainani (1999)


Indians in four plate finals

Mid-day 27-1-1999

KUALA LUMPUR, January 27 WORLD junior champion Ong Beng Hee (Malaysia) is to meet arch rival and holder Mansoor Zaman (Pakistan) in the final of the boys individual event at the HEAD 9th Asian Junior Squash Championships. Beng Hee had a workmanlike 9-3, 9-7, 9-6 scoreline against Pakistan’s Shahid Zaman after 39 minutes whilst Mansoor cantered to a 40 minute 9-0, 4-2, 9-4 win over colleague Mohammed Ilyas.

The girls semi-finals were an all-Malaysian affair. At the end of the day, the fight for the gold has developed into a family affair between the David sisters, Nicol and Cheryl Nicol ran riot with a crushing 9-0, 9-1, 9-1 win over Daphine Ting in 16 minutes.

The Indians figure in tour plate finals. Rhea Bhandara had a disappointing loss to Malaysia's T'eng Ooi Ean in the Classic Plate which is for second round losers. However, Joshna Chinappa had a good win and her colleague Vaidehi Reddy made the final of the Consolation Plate.

Results: Boys Classic Plate (semi-finals): Anshul Manchanda bt Mihir Kapoor 9-1, 9-0, conceded; Parth Doshi bt Abdul Adzira (Malaysia) 9-6, 9-6, 9-2.

Girls Plate (semi-finals): Nur Adawiyah (Singapore) bt Pia Abraham 9-7, 9-7, 10-9; Francis Ho (Hong Kong) bt Lim Yoke Wan (Malaysia) 7-9,4-9,9-6,9-1,10-9.

Girls Classic Plate (semi finals): Joshna Chinappa bt Tan Hui Shan (Malaysia) 10-8, 9-7, 9-5; Kong Yi Zhen (Malasyai) bt Teng Ooi Ean (Malaysia) 9-3,9-2, 9-7.

Girls Consolation Plate (semifinals): Vaidehi Reddy bt Eriko Chiba (Japan) 9-0, 9-1, 9-3; Nagisa Miyashima (Japan) bt Buddhika Pefera (Sri Lanka) 9-5,9-0,9-5.

"A night of the squash champions

Times of India 6/2/1999

MUMBAI : A proposal to intro­duce squash among the police force was mooted at the Mid-Day Lifetime Achievement awards on Thursday.

The function was graced by World Squash Federation's president emeritus Tunku Imran who gave awards to former national champs Anil Nayar, Adrian Ezra and Meherwan Daruwalla.

The  London based  Ezra  was present to receive the award from the sports loving Imran while the New York based Nayar was represented by his brother who received the award on the former's behalf.

Daruwala, who was the undis­puted champion before Ezra top­pled him, also received an award.

The victorious Maharshtra men's team, the National team champions, were presented with a cash award of Rs 50,000 for winning the interstate title at Calcutta last month.

Malaysia's world junior boys champion Ong Beng Hee, his country's richest squash player, was given the Tunku Imran award by the South East Asian Nation's Prince himself on the day hee turned 19.

Hee had beaten Pakistan no. one Mohammed Hussain, perceived to be his biggest threat, on his way to the title last year.

Also honored were Maharashtra's coach Ananth Nayak, women's national champion Mekhla Subedar and professionals champions Chandrakant Pawar and Shyamlal Verma.


Mid-day 25/1/1999

KUALA LUMPUR, January 25 ABHIJIT Kukreja, Joshna Chinappa and Rhea Bhandare kept India's flag flying at the 9th ' Asian junior squash championships. Chinappa impressed with a fluent 9-2, 9-3, 9-5 victory over Francis Ho (Hong Kong) in 20 minutes and plays joint third seed Daphine Tine (Malaysia) today. Bhandare chalked out a 9-1,9-3,9-0 win over Rasani Lankage (Sri Lanka). After the match, Indian coach Rajiv Reddy was spoken to by referee Leslie Ponampalam as Bhandare had printed her name at the back of her shirt and this was a violation of the dress code.

Malaysia's Tricia Chuah brushed aside Vaidehi Reddy with a 9-0, 9-3, 94 scoreline in an encounter which lasted for mere 13 minutes. Singapore's Vicki He beat Pia Abraham 9-0,9-0,10-9.

The Chennai girl was 2-8 down in the third and did well to claw her way back and actually serve for the game. Inexperience told in the end and the 14-year-old would be wiser for the experience.

Mumbai's Abhijit Kukreja lifted the doom in the Indian boys camp with a splendid 3-9,9-6,9-7, 9-2 win over local lad V K Kumaraseran in their second round encounter. Kukreja was outplayed in the opener, trailed 1-4 in the second and 2-7 in the third. But, the resillient Indian plugged on and made his opponent work for every point Kumaraseran was tired and after 35 minutes, it was Kukreja who went through to a third round meeting with the reigning Asian junior champion Mansoor Zaman (Pakistan).

Kukreja is India's lone ranger left in the boys event. Joint ninth seed Parth Doshi let slip a 2-1 lead and from 5-2 in the fourth, managed just three more points as Malayasia's Kelvin Ho won 1-9,9-2, 1-9, 9-5, 9-3. Doshi looked in control in the fourth but a string of errors, uncharacteristic of the Mumbai junior, led to his down fall.

Hong Kong's Yan Ka Ho defeated Anshul Manchanda 9-4, 9-1,9-5 but had the Indian played with a bit more discipline, it could have been a much closer call. Ka Ho was 7-0 up in the third and just about held on to win after 40 minutes. Fifth seed Vincent Cheung (Hong Kong) gave Mihir Kapoor a sound thrashing. The Indian was shown the door and he managed just three points, all of which came in the third game.

Finally, Indian girls win!

Mid-day 6/8/1999

ANTWERP, August 6 AN Indian victory at last! India 2, Wales 1 and, as a result, the wooden spoon at the 8th World Junior Girls team squash championships has been avoided. Pia Abraham gave India the lead with a convincing 9-1,9-3,9-1 win over Staycey Preece in 17 minutes. Deepali Anvekar stuttered but did enough to beat Anna Vaughan 9-5,9-3,9-7 there by ensuring an Indian win. This match lasted 31 minutes and the result was very important because in the third rubber Hayley James defeat­ed Vaidehi Reddy 9-5,10-9,9-0.

Fourteen-year-old Stacey Preece caught a tartar in Chennai's Pia. The young lady from Penarth was given the runaround and the result was never in doubt. The same cannot be said of the Welsh number one Anna when she played Deepali. It made a pleasant change to see the Mumbai player without a strapping.

Anvekar trailed 4-5 in the opener but found the finish to win it. The 18-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent is no greenhorn and showed her fighting qualities when 2-8 down in the third. She saved three matchballs, came up with four winners and suddenly there was cause for alarm. An attempted backhand pass from Vaughan clipped the top of the tin and Anvekar had another chance. This time Vaughan's backhand found the tin and the Indians had something to celebrate. Anvekar should have won much more authoritatively.

Hayley James, the Welsh number two, took the most of the opportunities that came her way as she beat Vaidehi Reddy 9-5, 10-9, 9-0 in 25 minutes. The Indian led 4-3 in the first game and should have closed the second where she went 7-1 up. James was given the chance to volley and it became a matter of Reddy losing rather than her opponent winning this match.

The Welsh are the weakest of the European teams. Whilst an Indian win is always very welcome, care should be taken not to make too much of this win.

Asian invasion in America (P51)

Mid-day 1/8/1999

TWO sporting legends have been in the news during the last few days. Rod Laver had a heart attack and Jack Nicklaus has called in some experts to look into an appar­ent fraud in his Golden Bear Inc.

Whilst all this has taken up space in the main papers like The New York Times, Jahangir Khan's arrival at Princeton as coach of the Pakistan junior men's squash team hasn't even got a line.

Yes, Tom Jones, the editor of Squash News, who is based in Rhode Island and runs a very good circuit, was quite pepped up about the legendary player coming down in an official capacity.

Jahangir has intentions of vying for the post of Vice-president at the next AGM of the World Squash Federation in November. His colleague Qamar Zaman tried his luck at becoming Vice-president of the Asian Squash Federation two weeks ago at Kuala Lumpur but managed the least number of votes.

Jahangir is a different kettle of fish. The debate still rages as to who is the best player of all time. Jahangir never won the world junior title but had six World Opens and 10 British Opens to go alongside. Jansher was world junior champion in 1988, has eight World Opens under his belt and six British Opens.

Jahangir, the man with the classic backhand and an allround game pitted against the superfit Jansher. Perhaps it was poetic justice that the final scoreline between them stood at 21 wins apiece.

With the exception of Jansher, no other player has won the World junior and senior title. Australia's Chris Robertson (champion in 1984) got to number two on the PSA list, Egypt's Ahmed Barada who won at Christchurch in 1994 had made the top five but that's as far as they have got. Chris Dittmar lost two World Junior finals and it was to be a similar story for him in the men's.

Junior squash has come a long way in the last two decades. It's happening in all the five continents. To see it do so in a state better known for its Dodgers Stadium is extraordi­nary. Talk about baseball, basketball, the Goodwill Games and it's all acceptable.

But squash? A relatively unknown racket sport making a big splash at Princeton University. The all-glass court is being set up in the Jadwin Gymnasium which has a seating capacity of 3,000. It's not been designed for Nadia Commence. Instead the world will be watching what looks to be an Asian invasion.

Joshna Chinappa's hopes get squashed in cross-fire

Indian Express 24/7/1999

WHEN the Indian contingent for the World Junior women's squash championship leaves Mumbai tonight, one of India's most promising player, Joshna Chinnappa of Chennai, will not be on the flight to Antwerp, Belgium.

Joshna, who is four months shy of 13 years, has been making waves on the Asian junior circuit with a string of solid performances, including winning the Malaysian junior championship this year. But she finds herself in the cold.

The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) has ruled that since she did not participate in its training programme, she was not invited for the recent selection trials here, and consequently, not included in the Indian team.

However, Joshna's father Anjan Chinnappa asserted that his daughter was unable to attend the training camp due to unavoidable circumstances, and that the SRH was unwilling to give due weight age to her status as the country's leading junior player.

But beneath the surface lies a more complex story with SRFI and Chinnappa Haming each other for various lapses. The SRFI, on its part, issued a show cause notice to Anjan after Joshna was entered far the under-13 event (subsequently she pulled out) at the recent Malaysian championship while she was cleared for only the under-15 category. Joshna went on to win the under-15 tide.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Chinnappa claimed Joshna submitted her entry for the under-13 event when she was asked by one of the organizers whether she would like to participate in this category also, apart from under-15.

"It was not our intention to defy the SRFI but my daughter only agreed to take part in under-13 section. Thus, on her return from Ipoh (prior to the Malaysian Open), she found her name in the under-13 draw. But the SRFI objected and she withdrew to play only in the under-15 section," said Chinnappa. "For that, we received a show cause notice," he added.

Thereafter, following a meeting between Chinnappa and SRFI secretary general N Ramachandran, the federation withdrew the show cause notice after the father submitted a letter of regret At this point, it appeared as though the issue was amicably resolved.

Chinnappa said he subsequently submitted a written request to SRFI to invite Joshna for the June 17 selection trials in Chennai. But Ramachandran denied having received any such correspondence.

Chinnappa said: "I was given an assurance that my request will be met But on the morning of June 17, when I telephoned Ramachandran, he said Joshna will not be called for the trials since the two manager and coach (Rajiv Reddy and Cyrus Poncha respectively) were against it"

Ramachandran said he had not given any such assurance, but, in fact, had categorically stated that the SRFI "would go by the book" and since Joshna did not attend the training programme, she had made herself ineligible for selection.

"I do admit that Joshna is a talented player. But the federation certainly cannot make an exception in her case when the other girls have attended the training programme. We do not want to set a precedent," asserted Ramachandran.

Poncha said in Mumbai that he had no say in the selection procedure and denied raving any hand in Joshna's non inclusion.” I just know that she did not turn up for the trials and hence was not eligible for selection."

The off shoot of this sorry tale is that the National Under-14 champion who also won titles in the Singapore (under-14), Hong Kong (under-13), Scottish (under-13) and Malaysian (under-15) championships in the past one year, will be probably doing her school homework when her thoughts will be in Antwerp, dreaming of playing for India  

MUMBAI: The Indian team is scheduled to fly for Belgium tonight from here. The team is grouped with Egypt, France, Germany and South Africa and is seeded 19th in its maiden appearance. The format is round robin with the top three players of each team playing their counterparts. Team: Deepali Anvekar, Pia Abraham, "Vaidehi Reddy, Supriya Balsekar. Coach: Cyrus Poncha. Manager Rajiv Reddy.


Mid-day 5th Feb 1999

TUNKU Imran, president emeritus of the World Squash Federation, is a man of many parts. He came across as an effective communicator at the MID-DAY Lifetime Achievement awards night in the city yesterday.

"Sport is about persons, about interpersonal relationships," observed the Malaysian prince, in his address to an august gathering of Mumbai society, including some of the biggest names in Indian squash.

"We in Malaysia are proud of our achievers. One of whom, Ong Beng Hee, has gone on to become the world junior champion," said Tunku Imran,  who dwelt on the importance of recognising and appreciating sporting talent while presenting the MID-DAY Lifetime and the Indian Squash Professionals awards.

"Now with Nicole David showing the potential to become a women's world champion, we want to prove squash is not just for the Australians or Englishmen. Malaysia has shown that Asians can do equally well too, provided there is talent and the right support system," said the WSF president emeritus, who also heads the Malaysian squash federation.

Highlighting the need for sporting exchanges between Asian sporting powers, the driving force behind Malaysian cricket sought India's co-operation in chalking out tours involv­ing junior cricketers from his country in exchange for tours where promising Indian squash players could get training in Malaysia.

The function was hosted by MID­DAY Publications chairman Khalid A-H Ansari and Rukya Ansari. The awardees included the victorious Maharashtra Inter-State men's team including coach Ananth Nayak, squash pros Chandrakant Pawar and Shyamlal Verma, former national champion Adrian Ezra and women's sensation Mekhla Subedar.


MID-DAY Lifetime achievement awards Anil Nayar, Adrian Ezra and Meherwan Daruvala. The Indian Squash Professionals (ISP) Awards: Shyamlal Verma and Chandrakant Pawar. The Tunku Imran Award (donated by Simply Squash): Ong Beng Hee, MID-DAY'S Rs 50,000 incentive to the Maharashtra team which won the Inter-state squash title at Calcutta. Team: Niraj Shirgaokar, Akhil Behl, Manish Chotrani, Parth Doshi, Avish Jaiswal and Saket Wali (Coach: Anant Nayak). Special award: Mekhla Subedar, women's national champion.


By A Sports Reporter 24/7/1999

AIR-INDIA has given state squash a boost with the signing of a three year deal with Squash Racquets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM).

The state association will conduct a junior circuit, the A-I circuit (minimum of five legs and a Grand Final) in 1999, 2000 and 2001. "The age groups targeted are the under-19, under-17, under-15, under-13 and under-11 for boys and girls.

The junior circuit will be conducted on a Grand Prix basis.

The rules and regulations will be worked out by the SRAM Tournament Committee headed by Mahendra Agarwal. The circuit will be in line with international guide lines.

Players will earn poults for their performance at each of the legs which At the conclusion of the five tegs, the top eight players in each group will qualify for the Grand Final.

The winner of each age group in the Grand Finals will be given a free ticket by Air-India to participate in an overseas tournament which will be designated by SRAM.

"At this level, international exposure is the most important thing for players," said Jitender Bhargava, Director PR, Inflight Service and National Marketing Division.

The intention is to take matters step by step whereby a group travels to a tournament together and have the assistance of a coach who would accompany them, thanks to Air-India's sponsorship.

The airline has been involved with squash for several years. They were co-sponsors of. the Mahindra International and have helped out with tickets to players.


 India crash to 0-3 loss

Raju Chainani
Mid-day 27-7-2001

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 Zealand.

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 pressure."


Curtains for India

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 7-8-1999

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 trailed 5-7.

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.

Earlier, 15-year-old 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 Gearing 9-7,9-2, 9-6. 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 Reddy.

Had the basic drill of playing the ball deep and to a good length been persevered with, the Indians may well


By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 7-10-1999

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 for themselves.

"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 happenings.

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.

India goes down again

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 4-8-1999

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 India's fate.

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 demoralised her.

Indian girls no match for Egypt

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 3-8-1999

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
Mid-day 29-1-1999

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 Japan.

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 problems.

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 Bhandare  for  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 23 minutes 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
Mid-day 27-7-1999
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.

Pia Abraham in quarters

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 22-7-1999

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 Championship.

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 score line 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 acclimatization 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 Richard Glanfield.

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.

Narain, Narain!

Mid-day 21-11-1999

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 famous trophy.

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 Neerav 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.

Press Articles of Raju Chainani (1998)


Mid-day 14/9/1998

KUALA LUMPUR, September 14 IT WAS a day of mixed fortunes for England's top players in the pre -quarter-finals of the individual squash championships at the Commonwealth Games. Cassie Jackman saw South Africa's Claire Nitch make a hash of a relatively easy backhand at 8-4 in the fifth and the English champion worked her way to inch home.

It was 7-9,9-1,9-4,6-9,10-8 to the world number three after 54 minutes. Simon Parke, the world number five, let slip a 2-1 lead and allowed David Evens (Wales) to slip through 9-4,0-9,2-9,9-5,9-1 after 82 minutes.

Claire Nitch must be kicking herself for losing to Cassie Jackman. She had broken away from 2-3 to reach matchpoint and it had been a case of five winners from the Springbok. The backhand she missed proved to be very expensive. Then came three tins and luck favored Jackman at 8-8 as she had a service ace. A stroke to the England number one added to the agony. "I am stupid to have lost", said Nitch.

"At 4-8, I said to myself I must keep the ball in play", said Jackman, "There was no pressure on Calire. The Commonwealth Games have a different environment as we chase the gold medal". Jackman meets Carol Owens (Australia) in the quarter-final. The Aussie lass was too experienced for Malaysia's Leong Siu Lynn as she won 9-2,9-2,9-4. Siu Lynn was in the hunt at 4-4 in the third but her unforced errors were her undoing.

Two weeks ago, Simon Parke had reached the semi-finals of the Cathay Pacific Open at Hong Kong. He had looked sharp and gave Jonathon Power plenty to think about Against David Evans tonight, Parke had some bad calls and allowed this to get the better of him. "I am very disappointed", said Parke, "it is like a lost dream. Some of the refereeing was appalling. I don't not want to say any more. I hope to make up for this loss in the mixed doubles".

Peter Nicol had a comfortable 9-4, 9-4, 9-1 win over Canada's Graham Ryding. He plays mark Chaloner (England) in the quarter-finals. Chakmer defeated Martin Heath (Scotland) 9-2,9-6,2-9,9-10,9-5 in a 108-minute battle of wits. "Mark is one of the fittest players on the circuit. The hard match today will probably pep him up. He beat me on February 1st in the British Closed. I will never forget that as it was my first day as world number one", said Nicol.

England's Paul Johnson was impressive in his 10-9, 9-5, 9-5 victory over Craig Rowland (Australia). He plays world champion Rodney Eyles who needed 55 minutes to wear down a determined challenge from him Aussie colleague David Palmer. The 31 year-old Bermuda based Eyles won 10-9,7-9,9-2,9-7.

Jonathon Power (Canada) toyed with Asian champion Zarak Jahan Khan, winning 9-6,9-0,9-4 in minutes. The Canadian, who has suggested to the media that he is the world number one, plays David Evans next.

Craig Wapnick (South Africa) is on the comeback trail. He has been off the international circuit for most of 1997 and is currently ranked at 49. He had a good win over Australia's Byron Davis, the world number fifteen. Wapnick was outplayed in the opener but his disciplined approach took him to a 1-9,9-4,94,9-4 win and a quarter-final date with Alex Gough (Wales).

Eyles Out

Mid-day 2/12/1998

DOHA, December 2 STEFAN Castelyn, the soft-spoken Belgian, knocked out reigning champion Rodney Eyles (Australia) in the second round of the $175,000 Mahindra Men's World Squash Open. Castelyn, world ranked 18, won 12-15, 15-10, 15-13, 17-16 in 61 minutes. Interestingly, this was Castelyn's first World Open and also the first time he had beaten Eyles.

The 31-year-old Bermuda-based Aussie had a chance to force a decider when he led 16-15. But, a casual back­hand volley drop from Castelyn made it 16-16 and after two lets, Eyles found the tin with an attempted backhand pass. He was furious with referee Jack Alien and as he came off court, hurled the ball angrily towards the man in the chair. Admittedly, there had been calls which were questionable and Eyles had a few crucial ones against him. But, in the final analysis, Castelyn had been the better player and Eyles back problem did not help matters.

The Aussie led 14-7 in the opener and dung on to win it after a spirited effort from Castelyn. The Belgian number one had his way in the next game and won a dose third, keeping up a slender lead. Then came the fourth and the scores level at 10-10, Castelyn was to have the last laugh.

"It is a very dead court. You have to be agile in front. Rodney is a very compact player and needs to get close. The conditions did not help him. I felt in the second game I had a chance and kept going. There were a few marginal calls but you have to accept them," said Casteryn. Last year, he was in the qualifying draw. He has since moved up the ranks and has crashed into the top 20.

Dan Jenson also got beat, making it a miserable day for the Aussies. He lost to John White who has moved from Australia to Scotland. The ninth seeded Jenson had done the hard work, restoring parity after being 0-2 down. But, the fifth was dominated by White and his 15-11,15-12,12-15, 16-17, 15-10 win after 79 minutes gives him a third round match with England's Simon Parke,

You could write your own card for two Australians to win their respective matches 15-14 in the fifth game and both having to save three matchballs. Eight seeded Anthony Hill inched out Thierry Lincou (France) 15-5, 15-8, 13-15,12-15,15-14 in 67 minutes and later Billy Haddrell defeated Julian Wellings (England) 15-12, 13-15, 9-15, 15-11,15-14 in 85 minutes.

Lincou, aged 22 and based in Marseilles, was 13-9 and 14-12 ahead in the decider. Hill got to 13-14 with a blistering forehand and an unforced error from Lincou made it 15-14. On the point that mattered, the French connection was off the mark.

"I was very lucky to win. I threw up at 12-7 in the third game and when I came out, I threw up again. It's probably the orange juice I had this morning", said Hill. The match looked over at that stage as Hill was three points away from victory. Had he thrown up on court, it would have been curtains for him. If a player bleeds on court, he is allowed to go on but vomiting makes the conditions unplayable and there is an automatic disqualification.

In the third round, Hill plays England's Markus Berrett. The Yorkshireman, world ranked 47, continued his good run with an emphatic 15-9, 15-12, 15-5 win over Australia's Byron Davis, the number 14 seed The Aussie led 10-7 in the second but Berrett won the net six points and never looked back, closing this 40 minute match with a clinging back hand volley.

Billy Haddrell did the Houdini act against England's Julian Wellings. At 12-14 in the decider, the writing was on the wall for the 38th ranked Melbourne player. It was inexperience that led to Wellings losing and as Haddrell persevered, the pendulum swung the other way.

Egypt's Ahmed Barada had plenty of crowd support as he took on Martin Heath (Scotland). They last met in the final of the Al-Ahram International in front of the pyramids last month where Barada won 15-13 in the fifth. Here, Heath did well to take the second game and rallied from 4-10 to 11-12 in the third. Egged on by a vociferous band of supporters, Barada responded and won 15-6,14-17,15-11, 15-7 in 69 minutes. He plays England's Tony Hands in the third round.


Mid-day 9th Feb 1998

TUNKUIMRAN needs no introduction to the sports world As president Emeritus of the World Squash Federation, president of the Malaysian Squash Association and director of the Organizing Committee for September's Commonwealth Games, he has plenty on his plate. Tunku was in the metropolis on Saturday and over a champagne breakfast at The Taj, talked about various topics, particularly the Commonwealth Games.

He is Chairman of the Sports Committee and the Marketing and Sponsorship Committee for this mega event. "Our target was to raise $ 80 million and so far we have got $ 70 million. It is a comfortable figure but there's still seven months to go and we are optimistic of getting the remaining money", he said, "Most of the costs we have to cover are in local currency. We expect a fairly reasonable amount from the broadcasting fee rights and  these would be in US dollars".

In addition to the sponsorship costs, the government has pumped in $ 500 million (five hundred million US dollars). "This money has gone towards the construction of new facilities and will also be allocated for health, protocol, security, opening and closing ceremonies”. The new facilities are state-of-the-art. "The national sports complex where the athletics will be held and the ceremonies would take place can accommodate 100,000. There's a new swimming pool which can seat 6,000 and an indoor gymnasium with 15,000 capacity. The hockey stadium is getting its finishing touches and here 20,000 can comfortably watch".

Squash and tenpin bowling are to make their debut at the Commonwealth Games. "We have built a squash complex which has ten singles courts and an all-glass show court. The singles courts can be converted into eight doubles courts at the flick of a switch".

This year's Commonwealth Games are likely to be the biggest ever. "What makes them different is that we have introduced team events. Hockey, cricket, rugby sevens and net-ball are in this category. It's never happened before". There are 70 member countries of the Commonwealth with Cameroon and Mozambique being the latest to join. Fiji is set to make a return but a cloud hangs over Nigeria's participation as they were suspended due to some human rights violations.

We have been upgrading all the facilities. The cricket grounds have been given their due care. It's all part of a planned programme." Tunku Imran was quick to add that Malaysia would be bidding for the 2006 Asian Games. "With the infrastructure, we feel we have the capability and the capacity for such an event. Oh yes, we know India is interested!!"

The breakfast meeting had lasted its course. His choice was an onion rawa dosa. There was time for a few words on squash. "I would like to come here for the Mahindra World Men's Open in December. I think the concept of an open-air setting adds a lot of flavour to the game. We in Malaysia have our sights on the world junior boys crown at Princeton in August where Ong Beng Hee should be a leading contender. The game is growing. It's great to see India as a major stop on the world tour. This is my first visit here and I am enjoying the weather and the hospitality"

It was time to move on. Tunku Imran's schedule included a meeting with Raj Singh Dungarpur and some committee members of the BCCI.  He was most impressed by the Brabourne Stadium. It was getting close to one' o'clock and Patiala Pavilion beckoned .

For those who do not know, Tunku Imran is the younger son of the King of Malaysia. More important perhaps is that he is a friend of sport and in this arena everybody rubs shoulders.

The meeting with Raj Singh was fruitful. "I am very touched by CCT's gesture to make me an honorary life member", said Tunku Imran. It came as a surprise but it came to a man who has done a great deal for sport Need anything more be said?

From Jahangir the great to Jahangir the vice-president?

Mid-day 8/11/1998

STUTTGART, November 7 HE WORLD Squash Federation (WSF) has its Annual General Meeting on Sunday morning and among other items of  the agenda is the election of vice-presidents. Pakistan legend  Jahangir Khan has thrown his hat in the ring and is fancied to win, as is England's Mike Corby, The others in the fray are Dr Kayode Roberts (Nigeria), Andre Naniche (USA) and Vijay Gujjar (South Africa). Interestingly, Corby was born in Jalandhar whilst Gujjar has his roots near Surat and his wife is from Amritsar.

There are three Vice-Presidents on the WSF. The present constitution provides for one of them to be a lady which makes Anne Smith's position secure. Corby has done a lot to promote the Olympic bid and it would come as a major surprise if he lost.

Roberts, Niniche and Gujjar seem to be short on support whilst Jahangir has a lot of it. Many feel his presence would lift the game's profile and Jahangir has done a fair bit of homework.

The vice-president's post fell vacant following the assassination of Pakistan's Hassan Musa last December.

Jahangir has since taken over Musa's role back home and is actively involved in coaching juniors. Talking about the present lot, he felt it would take time before a world beater emerged.

"We do not have anybody to take over from Jansher," he said.

J K, six times world champion. J K, coach of the Pakistan junior team. And now, JK, Vice-President of the WSF?

Indians dominate

Mid-day 16/5/1998

KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 MUMBAI's Sahil Vora and Siddarth Suchde are to clash in the semi-final of the boys under-14, at the Milo-Dunlop Malaysian Junior Squash Open. Junaid Nathani (boys under-16) and Karanpal Sethi (boys under-12) won their quarter-final matches to cap off another good day for the Indians.

The under-14 event was the centre of attraction for the Indian players as they, had four players in the quarter-finals. Sahil Vora beat Theng Tong Sern (Malaysia) 9-4, 9-1, 4-9, 9-4 and he kept the spectators amused with his Hollywood mannerisms. Today he will meet arch rival Siddarth Suchde who had an easy 9-1, 9-4, 9-4 win over Ashwin Nesan (Malaysia). "It was a good, solid performance by the two. It's set up an intriguing semi-final tomorrow," said coach Cyrus Poncha.

Mihir Sheth and Anurag Gill were beaten but both had their chances. Sheth was outplayed by top seed So Pak Hei (Hong Kong) in the first and second games. He fought back to take the third but let his opponent take a 7-1 lead in the fourth. It was too much of a gap to close. Anurag Gill missed out on winning the opener against Malaysia's Roger Loh in the boys under-14. He fought his way to 7-8 in the second game but it was apparent he was tiring and the local lad had an easy time from hereon.

Karanpal Sethi was tested by Malaysia's Hilmi Ramzee in the opening game of their under-12 quarter-final. Having sorted this game out, Sethi took the next two comfortably. In the other half of the draw, top seed Kwang Yu Shan (Hong Kong) defeated Rushab Vora. The Indian was blanked in the opener but to his cred­it, hung in there and gave his opponent many an anxious moment in the remaining pan of their match.

In the boys under-16, Junaid Nathani crushed Looi Fon Sow (Malaysia) 9-3, 9-5, 9-1. He has won both his matches in fluent style. Nathani has been training here for a week before this event and his efforts are reaping dividends. He plays third seed Kelvin Ho in the semis today,

Supriya Balsekar led in the first and second games of her encounter with Malaysia's Lim Yoke Wah. The local lass kept up the rallies and as Balsekar began making mistakes, the tide soon turned. Balsekar did well to take the third game but the buck stopped there,

Brind extends good run

Mid-day 7/11/1998

STUTTGART, November 7 ENGLAND'S Stephanie Brind con­tinued her good run in the $70,000 women's World Open squash with a 25-minute 9-4, 9-4, 4-9, 9-1 win over South Africa's Clarie Nitch, the number 12 seed. It was Brind's second notable scalp, the earlier victim being world number nine Linda Charman (England). Yesterday, Nitch was struggling for most part of the match and had just one good spell which saw her recover from 1-4 in the third to take the game.

Brind's wristy style has dubbed her as the female version of Brett Martin. She earned a quarter-final with Suzanne Homer, thereby ensuring England of a player in the last four. Horner won the battle of the veterans. She is 35 and her opponent, Australia's Liz Irving is 33. Irving had her moments but her inconsistency led to her downfall. She went 6-0 ahead in the third, lost the next seven points and somehow conjured up a finish to win this game.

After 33 minutes, Horner had a 9-2, 9-0, 7-9, 9-6 scoreline. There was an elegant ease with which New Zealand's Leilani Joyce brushed aside England's Jane Martin. The 24-year-old Auckland lass won 9-1,2-9,9-2,9-4 in 35 minutes.

She plays world number one Michelle Martin who needed 45 minutes to defeat England's Fiona Geaves 9-4,9-3,8-9,9-3.


Mid-day 20/8/1998

NEW YORK, August 20 THE Indian team left Princeton with bittersweet memories of the 10th World Junior Squash Championships. The trio of Ritwik Bhattacharya, Gaurav and Rohan Juneja played above themselves and the 2-1 win over South Africa gave India 17th position overall, the highest they could achieve in the present system.

"Somebody should have fought for your case. Your boys deserved a better seeding that 23rd". said Hong Kong coach Chris Clark who has been at nine World Junior Championships.

Bhattachrya leaves for the PSA circuit in South America. The Juneja twins were on their way to Conneticut where they join Trinity College. The trio had to play all five matches following the disciplinary action taken against Bikram Uberoi.

The hand-to-mouth existence was very much on their minds. "We asked Manan Mashruwalla for the additional allowance we were supposed to receive and all he said was that when we come to Mumbai in December he will try and get it for us. We wanted it here. We don't need a Santa Claus", said Gaurav Juneja.

Team captain Bhattcharya was far from amused with Mashruwalla's presence. "Against South Africa he kept mumbling something to me in between games. It did not make any sense because Yogendra Singh was advising me", said the Indian skipper. for what it's worth, Mashruwalla did not attend as single training session. Things reached a stage when the local host, Madhav Joshi questioned Mashruwalla about his presence. It was sad that the boys were denied allowance for the full period. The saving grace was they played against Jahangir Khan and rubbed shoulders with greats like Maqsood Ahmed, Umar Hayat Khan, Yusuf Khan and Anil Nayar. This is what made Their trip worthwhile.

City lads have everything to play for

Mid-day 14/5/1998

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 MUMBAI'S Bikram Oberoi is the number two seed in the boys under-19 event of the Milo-Dunlop Malaysian Junior Squash Open which begins here today. Oberoi's colleague Mihir Kapoor is the joint third seed with Australia's Kane Ingham.

In the boys under-16 Junaid Nathani is India's sole representative and has been seed­ed at two with local lad Marcus Yeap heading the pack. Yeap, a semi-finalist at last year's Asian under-16 championships will be the strong favourite.

The most competitive event in this years championships is the boys under-14 which has attracted a 32 draw. There are five Indians participating and all have drawn local players. Mihir Sheth plays William Yeoh, Anurag Gill meets Nathan Raja, Sahil Vora runs into Mohammed Afzahan, Auloke Mathur has Mohammed Shahrit to contend with and Siddarth Suchde takes on Satyasian Raja Hong Kong's So Pak Hei is the top seed for this event.

Sahil Vora's younger brother Rushab is the lone Mumbai player in the boys under-12. He plays Malaysia's William Yeoh in his first match today. Supriya Balsekar has a first round bye in the girls under-14. No other Indian junior girl has made the trip which is rather unfortunate. Malaysia's 14-year- old wonder girl, Nicol David, quarter-finalist at last year's world under-19 juniors has entered in two events the under-16 and under-19.

Indian jrs left high and dry

Mid-day 1/8/1998

PRINCETON, August 1 THE 10th World Junior Squash Championships have not yet started but for the Indian contingent, it has been a miserable 48 hours.

Rohan Juneja's bag which contains his playing shoes is missing. He has a tough opening match against Malaysia's Aaron Soyza and is hoping that British Airways will come up trumps.

More alarming is the allowance of $ US 140 given to each of the four players and the coach. This is sup­posed to last them for 16 days.

The explanation for this is that the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) had only entered for the team event and the boys had to fend for themselves for the individual. This defies logic because for the recent Asian Championships, an allowance of $ US 20 per day had been paid for the entire duration.

Coach Yogendra Singh and Ritwik Bhattacharya were part of the team at Kuala Lumpur and they have India blazers. The other three members here Rohan Juneja, Gaurav Juneja and Bikram Oberoi had to purchase their own blazers and trousers. Why these double standards?

The coach has not received any contingency funds and already has spent $ US 30 from his allowance on purchasing squash bails for the boys, something which should have been the SRFI's baby.

The boys had a workout at the venue on Thursday evening and another session yesterday afternoon. They are understandably upset with what has transpired, Unless the federation address ,the situation, the boys will have to pay from their own funds to last the 15 days.

Apparently, Manan Mashruwalla, who is to come here as manager for the team event, is to bring along some contingency money. But,  nobody is sure when and whether he would arrive. Whilst all this was happening off court, there were many who came to the venue to meet Jahangir, who is coach of the Pakistani squad. A light drizzle did not deter the juniors from making the 10 minute walk from Forbes College where they are housed, to the Princeton University courts.

Subedar snatches defeat from jaws of victory

Mid-day 10/12/1998

PATTAYA, December 10 MEKHLA SUBEDAR, the joint fifth seed, let her first round match against Japan's Masami Kofuji in the ladies individual squash event at the 13th Asian Games slip through her fingers. She had four matchballs but couldn't convert any as she went out 9-3, 1-9, 5-9, 9-7, 10-8. This 77 minute encounter was punctuated by lets with the Indian national champion the main offender. Whilst Subedar was involved in a marathon, Sohini Kumari played on the adjacent court and was given a 9-4,9-0,9-0 drubbing by the joint third seed, Kuan Choy Lin (Malaysia).

Subedar was 4-0 ahead in the decider. She was penalized twice and it allowed Kofuji to come, dose at 3-5. The Japanese girl inched ahead to 6-5, her athleticism catching out Subedar: A mishit backhand helped Subedar to level and she seemed to have things under control as she tucked away two-cross courts to length. Match point to the Indian.

Not good enough, as Kofuji saved it with a brilliant backhand volley. She saved three more and then had a stroke in her favour to make it 8-8. A delayed backhand boast gave Kofuji her first matchball. She needed two more before her crosscourt winner ended this pulsating match.

Kofuji is Japan's number one and had beaten Subedar in five games at the Asian Championships in July. She is 32, 10-years senior to her Deolali based opponent. This evening's match saw Subedar have the early advantage as she led 3-2 in the opener.

Pole position

Mid-day 1/1/1998

JANSHER Khan will achieve a remarkable record on New Year's day today when he retains his world number one status, exactly 10 years after first reaching the top position.

Despite four defeats this year, Jansher has an average of 1181 with his closest rival Peter Nicol on 1136.

The Pakistani champion's first appearance in the world rankings was at No. 29 in November 1986 as a 17-year-old.

Three victories over countryman Jahangir (Pakistan Open, US Open and PIA Masters) and his first World Open title led to him displacing the latter as world number one in January 1988.

The pole position swung between the pair until May 1992 when Jansher began a reign which was only interrupted in highly controversial circumstances by Chris Dittmar in July 1993.

The latter, as President of PSA, was overruled by the other Board members at a stormy meeting where he suggested that Jansher's record spoke for itself and he was being harshly penalized for missing an event due to an injury.

Jansher was back at the top in the September '93 rankings, Since then, his reign as 'King Khan' has continued. Rodney Eyles came within a point earlier this year and Nicol remains in hot pursuit.

But at the end of the day, it is the man from Peshawar who maintains his position. He has won 88 major titles in the last decade and during that time, he has been world number one for 96 months.

Suchde Slips

Mid-day 18/5/1998  

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 SIDDARTH Suchde let the boys' under-14 title at the Milo Dunlop Malaysian Junior Squash Open slip right through his fingers.

After 53 absorbing minutes, top-seeded So Pak Hei prevailed 4-9,9-5, 9-6, 9-1 to win the crown. The little Indian had played well in the opener which he won 9-4 and though the lost the next game, a 6-2 advantage in the third did look convincing. But, So Pak Hei kept the ball in play and Siddarth's game went to pieces. He began snatching at the ball and it all went wrong. The victory which had loomed large half way through the third game soon disappeared into the clouds.

Suchde's on court tantrums did not help matters. He kept throwing his racquet, a habit which coach Rehmat Khan will need to correct. There was a lesson in discipline yesterday and So Pak Hei showed that a match is never won till the last point Suchde should have closed the third game as he had his opponent on the rack. Instead, a series of half-court returns gave Park Hei the opportunity. Frankly, there was title to choose between the two. In the end it was the 13-year-old from the Hong Kong Sports Institute who wrote his name on the trophy.

'The killer instinct was missing. But this does not come overnight, Siddarth's problem has been physical strength and diet We have been working on both these areas. Today he played well in the first and for most part of the third game. But as he soon learnt, he has to play well throughout the match," said coach Rehmat. It was a case of so near and yet so far.

When Sahil Vora lost the opening game to Roger Lob in the third place play-off, it did took as if he was feeling the effects of his hard fought battle with Siddarth on Saturday. To his credit, Vora worked his way hack into the match and having survived a dose third game, had the finish to win well. Likewise, Karanpal Sethi put his semi­final loss behind him as he stormed to a straight games win over Hilman Ruzainee (Malaysia) for the a place in the boys under-12. Coach Cyrus Poncha was happy with the results. "Both had opponents who are by no means push over. They struck to their task and it was good to see them come out on top."

Sri Lanka's Navi Samarasinghe was considered to be a dark horse for the boys under-16 tide. He gave top-seeded Marcus Yeap (Malaysia) plenty of problems in the semis and continued his good run with a 9-7,9-5, 9-2 win over Junaid Nathani to take the bronze. The Indian tried his best but was playing second fiddle as Samarastnghe had the match well under control Nicol David, quarter-finalist at the World Junior Girls Championships, notched up a double. She was in a league of her own as she won the under-16 and under-19 without breaking a sweat.


Mid-day 29th July 1998

NEW YORK, July 29 THE World Junior Men's Squash championships are scheduled to begin at the Princeton University campus on Saturday. There is a 256 individual draw and for the team event, 30 countries have entered. Egypt and Malaysia were the first teams to arrive. The others are trick­ling in. The Indian contingent has not yet left Mumbai and with the first round matches starting on Saturday morning, they will have very little time to get over the jet-lag and acclimatise.

National champion Ritwik Bhattacharya plays Andres Lopez (Switzerland) on Saturday evening. Rohan Juneja has a noon date with Aaron Soyza (Malaysia), his twin brother Gaurav meets Andrew Jonos (Canada) and Bikram Oberoi is up against Michael Stout (Bermuda).

Malaysia's Ong Beng Hee is the top seed for the individual event. Earlier this year he won the British Junior Open which for many years was regarded as the unofficial world championship.

Beng Hee became the first Malaysian to win the under-19 title and has joined a very select club that has Pakistan's Sohail Qaiser, Moibullah Khan and our very own Anil Nayar. he individual event concludes on August 8.

The team championship starts the very next day. India are seeded 23 and are in Pool G with Bermuda and Zimbabwe.

Pakistan, who have not won the junior team title since 1982 have been given pride of place. They have a certain Jahangir Khan as their coach.

India made their debut at the world juniors at Hong Kong in 1992. Twenty-four countries took part and India finished 15th.

At Christchurch two years later, the same number of teams took part and India was placed 19th.

Cairo in 1996 attracted 29 countries and saw a marginally better performance from the Indians as they ended up in 17th position.

You just KHAN keep him down!

Indian Express 14/10/1998

JAHANGIR KHAN is back I where he belongs. There's room for one only at the top and the Pathan from Abyssinia Road, Karachi has made it his property. After an emotional five game victory over arch rival Jansher in last month's Pakistan Open, Jahangir was naturally overjoyed.

This was a title that had brought him into the limelight in 1981 when he fought back from two games down to wear down Qamar Zaman. Here he was faced with the same problem as Jansher stormed into a 2-0 lead. Egged on by a partisan crowd, Jahangir came back. The fire of the Pathan began to glow as Jansher was humbled. In previous meetings it was often the reverse that happened as Jahangir seemingly tired.

"The King is back", roared the dailies. The two and a half hour epic was hailed as one of their best ever matches. Jahangir had won before a crowd that loved him, that never lost faith in him. He repaid them in the style of a true champion.

This side of the border has also seen some action. Meherwan Daruvala, national champion for the past five years, almost had his wings clipped by Anil Ganguly at the Central India Championship. The match went the full distance. Meherwan went on to brush aside Ravinder Malik's challenge in the final. If this is a taste of things to come, we sure can expect some fireworks in Bombay next month.

The men's scene switches to "Pyari Pyari Surat" for a Masters' Tournament. There were plans for a mistresses event too but these have been reserved for Bombay where bed and boardroom politics are on a higher scale.

A word on this new Surat Masters Tournament. Bombay have hosted two such annual events where the top eight Indian players competed on a round robin basis. There was Rs. 70,000 at stake, a record for Indian squash. Last year and the year before, we saw some excellent squash at the CCT glass back where this tournament was held.

This was the real Masters, a test of stamina, willpower and finesse. You really cannot call any other tournament by the same name. It is like equating Dom Perignon and limbupani.

"People who sit on high chairs should not eat chocolates."" This was a pointed remark at the man in the hot seat, the referee. One could write a serial on what the ref. did but should not have done. Today in India, squash has a price tag. The major tournaments are fiercely competitive and it's a question of pride, money and for what it's worth, ethics.

A close encounter between Narjit Singh and Meherwan could turn out to be a referee's nightmare. But that is partly because the organizers' approach in the past has been casual. It's time to crack the whip and come down hard on the offenders.

I am advocating this strongly for a number of reasons. Firstly, every sponsor would like to have a clean, well controlled tournament. Secondly, the spectator's (of late, a paying audience) would like to see good squash rather than a mud slinging exchange or a wrestling match. Thirdly, bad behavior by senior players has a significant impact on juniors. They tend to copy such habits.

Lastly, from the players point of view it leads to bad taste. Very often in the past our stars have got away with blue murder only to be severely punished in international events. They appear to be taken unaware abroad and that is a prime reason to crack the whip now.

The next six months will see a lot of happenings on our squash courts. As Meherwan plans his title defense there appear. Three strong challengers Adrian Ezra and Darius Pandole from Bombay and the powerful Narjit Singh from the Services.

This quartet should dominate. Ana we should see a bit of glamour too as little Rehaab Barodawala comes on to court in her "Flo Jo" outfit.

Private Tutions?

Mid-day May 10 1998

MUMBAI IS well represented at the Malaysia Junior Squash Open which takes place at Kuala Lumpur from May 14-17. Twelve juniors have entered but the irony is that nine of them are under Cyrus Poncha's care whilst two have Rehmat Khan as their personal coach.

The squad left on Saturday night, with Poncha and his wards travelling on a separate airline while Rehmat going his own way. It's a peculiar situation because on the weekends the juniors train with Rehmat at the CCI as part of the Squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra's scheme.

Last year, SRAM had paid for Rehmat and Poncha to accompany the juniors. The money seems to have dried up and as a result, the latter's trip is being financed by the juniors he is looking after and the former has made his own arrangements.

Rehmat's   contract    as   Director   of Coaching with SRAM is for 80 (eighty) days a year. He is free to make his private coaching arrangements on the other days and this is what Siddarth Suchde and Bikram Oberoi have taken advantage of.

Suchde, Mihir Sheth and Sahil Vora have often fought out close encounters in their U-14 age group, having graduated from the younger group. It is conceivable that the former could come up against either Vora or Sheth. In that case, Rehmat would be advising Suchde whilst Poncha would be in the other comer. Juniors have been told that if they did not attend Rehmat's camp they would not be promoted by SRAM.

Junaid Nathani, Mihir Kapoor and Auloke Mathur, who had gone to Kuala Lumpur to train with Major Maniam, will be with Poncha along with Supriya Balsekar, Karanpal Sethi, Mihir Sheth, Anurag Gill, Sahil and Rushab Vora. UNI adds: Parents of 11 junior players had to shell out Rs 40,000 each so that their wards could take part in the Malaysian Junior Open.

Indian notch a thriller

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 18-9-1998

PRINCETON, August 18 INDIA won a thrilling encounter against South Africa to finish in 17th place at the 10th World Junior Squash Championships. Their 2-1 scoreline spanned three hours and 40 minutes and was only outdone by the final between England and Egypt. It took four and a half hours to separate these two with England's Lee Jemmett beating Kareem Darwish 10-8 in the fifth game of the deciding rubber to help his side retain the trophy.

Gaurav Juneja played his heart in his match against Michael Marcos. He was defensive at the start but had a much better second game which he might well have won. At that point, things looked grim for the Otters Club junior. Juneja started rallying in the third and it made life uncomfortable for the Springbok.

When the Indian won the fourth and then led 2-0 in the decider, there were worried looks in the South African bench. Sadly, Juneja had an attack of cramps and it gave Marcos the chance to inch home 9-5, 1-08, 6-9, 5-9, 9-2 after 82 minutes.

Ritwik Bhattacharya found himself 1-7 down to John Argyle in the first game. He was hitting far too many loose balls but as the match progressed, the national champion got into a groove.

He was volleying well and kept the ball tight. In 45 minutes, he had beaten Aryle 4-9. 9-2, 9-0 and it all now hinged on Gaurav Juneja's match with Lloyd Barcza.

Like his colleagues had done earlier, Gaurav found himself a game down, mainly due to his mistakes. He leveled, lost the third game and then began on a recovery mission. It was 4-4 in the fourth before he pulled away and when he led 6-2 in the decider, it looked all over. Three unforced errors in a row had the Indians worried but Gaurav put away a forehand volley and then wrong-footed Bareza with a superb backhand to end this 69 minute match.

It was a tremendous performance by the Indians. The Juneja twins had played despite leg injuries. "They all gave a hundred per cent. Today was something special. It was a great way to end the event," said coach Yogendra Singh.

The main final saw Wael Hatem, El-Hendry put Egypt ahead with a convincing 9-2, 9-3, 9-6 victory in 57 minutes against Adrian Grant. Then Mohammed Abbas choked when 2-1 up against Nick Matthew and the Englishman prevailed in a 92 minute battle. Matthew won 10-8, 1-9, 4-9, 9-4, 9-3.

Kareem Darwish was also 2-1 ahead in the deciding rubber against Lee Jemmett.

The England captain took the fourth game 9-1 and then, on his sixth match-point, had a forehand volley which was too good for Darwish. It was 7-9, 9-2, 3-9, 9-1, 10-8 to Jemmett after 85 minutes and England had retained the trophy.

Other results
3rd place: Pakistan beat France 3-0
5th place: Spain beat Canada 2-1
7th place: Malaysia beat Wales 3-0
9th place: Germany beat Holland 2-1
11th place: Australia beat Hong Kong 2-1
13th place: Argentina beat Ireland 2-1
15th place: N Z beat Switzerland 2-1
17th place: India beat Sooth Africa 2-1
19th place: Scotland beat USA 2-1
21st place: Finland beat Columbia 2-1
23rd place: Brazil beat Sweden 3-0
25th place: Kuwait beat Zimbabwe 2-1
27th place: Bermuda beat Venezuela 2-1
29th place: Kenya beat El Salvador 3-0

Birthday Bonanza (P-27)

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 11-5-1998

SACHIN TENDULKAR and Peter Nicol. One a master blaster, the other a racket magian. On his 25th birthday,   Tendulkar sparkled in India's win over Australia at sharjah. Just a few days earlier, it had been the southpaw's crowning moment and he gave himself the perfect birthday present when he beat the redoubtable Jansher Khan in the British Open final.

It was back in 1973, three months before Nicol Peter as born that Jonah Barrington won the British Open. It was his sixth success in the event and the following year, his attempt to equal the legendary Hashim Khan's record was stopped by M Yasin who later was to coach Jansher. For the last 16 years the British Open has been dominated by the two . Jahangir won 10 in a row and then it was Jansher's turn to take over.

Nicol has broken that sequence. Since February he has taken over as world number one and his latest victory has seen him extend his lead over the mercurial Pakistani With Jansher presently on the repair list it is anybody's guess whether he can make a comeback.

Nicol's rise to the top is an example for many a youngster. Six years ago he won his first major title, the Singapore  Open.  Since then the progress chart has shown a steady upward trend. He is supremely fit, a fact which Jansher   readily   acknowledges.   In   Neil Harvey, the former England number one, Nicol has found a coach who he can relate to well. It's almost akin to the bond between Ramakant Achrekar and the little master.

In the cricket world, comparisons are being made between Tendulkar and Bradman. For Peter Nicol, there still is some way to go before he can be talked of in the same breath as Jahangir, Jansher or even Jonah. During the last 12 months he has shown his prowess, beating Jansher four times in major tournaments. Barrington is an Peter Nicol fan. He came up the hard way and the fitness factor played the dominant role, much as it does with Nicol. In Tendulkar and Nicol the sporting world has two extraordinary athletes. They are at the top of their respective professions. Was it sheer coincidence that on their 25th birthday they both had reserved something special for their fans?

How the West was won

By Raju Chainani
Indian Express 25-11-1988

INDIAN man, you speak with forked tongue. You say man hit against wall and you watch through glass. Go back to your snake charmers."

Big White Chief probably hadn' t even heard of a glass-back court which heralded the era of see through squash. From a handful of spectators who craned their necks on the contemporary courts, a few hundred could now watch the proceedings. For Indian squash 1986 was the dawn of a new era.

It was fitting that Bombay, the Mecca of Indian squash, be the venue for the country's first glass-back. To be associated with the Cricket Club of India, which was the best complex in the country, was indeed an honour. The Western India Championships, now in their forty-fifth year, have a special aroma. Winning in Bombay has always been a tough proposition. Till the Maharashtra State originated in 1976 there was only one Bombay Tournament. Today both attract the cream of Indian squash.

Looking back over the years, there have been a number of players who have etched their names in the Western India history books. Raj Kumar Narpat Singh, Madhav Apte, Dinshaw Pandole, Maj. K.S. Jain, Anil Nayar, Fali Mandon, Sanjit Roy, Raj Manchanda and Meherwan Daruvala are a few for whom winning on the CCI courts meant a great deal. Three were leading ladies too like Nandini Kumari and Bhuvaneshwari, professionals like Yusuf and Shyamlal and many others who left behind golden memories. Today, there remain but a few who can relate to the days of Abdul Ban, the only Indian to attain a world ranking in the early fifties.

In 1965, a nineteen-year-old made history. Anil Nayar won the men's and junior crowns with an unforgettable display of power and finesse. The cat-like agility and razzle-dazzle of Nayar has remained unparalled. He brought to an end the reign of Maj .K.S. Jain who had made this title a monopoly. Nayar's sparring partner was Fali Madon, another superb stylist. Such was the dominance of these two that they often left the chasing pack a distance behind. Both were trained by Yusuf Khan.

THERE was a time in 1966 when Sanjit Roy became a serious contender. He beat Fali but Yusuf made sure there was no repeat performance the following year. Thus two great friends, on and off court, took the Indian scene by storm. They were part of the team to the World Championships in Australia among with Sanjit Roy and Dinshaw Pandole.

"Bunker" Sanjit Roy has always been a great character. His ball control and technique were delight to the eye. The famous sidewall left many an opponent standing. Sadly for Indian squash, Sanjit gave it all up to devote his time to rural development. Today, he is a member of the Planning Commission. I met him a few weeks ago, khadi clothes et al at Delhi airport. Still the same lean, elegant gentleman of squash.

The left-handed Dinshaw Pandole was another with the Yusuf Khan stamp. A graceful player with a deft touch that was passed on to his sons, Darius, Farokh and Jahangir. Darius is just back from Harvard after a splendid record. The explosive Farokh rocketed into the top bracket last year. He was arguably the hardest hitter of the ball since Anil Nayar. Plumpudding Jahangir, no relation to the Pathan, is also making his mark amongst the juniors.

Twenty-two years after Anil Nayar did the double. A sixteen-year-old stood on the threshold of equaling this unique record. A five-game junior final with Farokh Pandole sapped his energy. But for Adrian Ezra, this was a marvelous achievement. He lost to Meherwan but there was enough to suggest that a new star had been born.

Meherwan Daruvala, the five times National champion has never lost at the CCI glass-back court. He won the inaugural Masters (November 1, 1986), Western India and Nationals (January 1987). Last year too, he walked away with the Masters and the Western India. But the challengers are making their presence felt. Apart from the artistic Narjit Singh, there is Ravinder Malik who has beaten him in two of their three encounters this season. Darius Pandole is very much in the fray. Along with Adrian Ezra he had played quite regularly with Meherwan.

The champ does not look his real self at all. He's stumbling and is not like the Daruvala we've known over the past decade. His rivalry with Darius goes to 1981 when he lost the senior final at Jaipur. Today, the battle royale continues, albeit at a much higher level.

BHUVANESHWARI Kumari has made the ladies event a one-horse race. Unbeaten for over a decade, the soft-spoken Princess of Alwar, is a remarkable athlete. She enters the Open events and has caused a few ripples. She is the first Indian lady to win a tournament overseas. Her victory in the Kenya Open, a fortnight ago, was a thunderbolt to some of the game's dirty officials who refused to give her a clearance She now takes on friendly, opposition in Bombay and is set to enhance her trophy collection.

As the curtain rises on this Blue Riband Tournament, there's an air of expectancy. Grindlays Bank have stepped up their sponsorship. The glass-back court, despite its problems, is the centre stage. The Old Fox, Raj Manchanda, has arrived to teach the younger Brigade a lesson or two. Meherwan "the Boxer" is ready to defend his crown. The vultures, Adrian, Narjit, Malik and Darius are hovering dangerously close. Keeping a close watch on the proceedings are two of the game's characters, the stud and mickey mouse.

Big White Chief had by now understood a little on how the West was won. "But, Indian Man, please explain. I see Daruvala, Sodawalla and Icewalla, but you say champion is Bombaywalla. You talk like newspaperwala."

Shocker: Bikram Uberoi sacked for indiscipline

By Raju Chainani
Mid-day 6-8-1998

PRINCETON, August 6 BIKRAM Uberoi has been axed from the Indian team at the 10th World Junior Squash Championships.

Following a team meeting yesterday coach Yogendra Singh said: "On Tuesday, Uberoi claimed he was unwell He was very reluctant to see the Tournament Doctor and minted to visit his relatives in Baltimore. He has refused to listen when specifically told to take rest

"During  the  last  few days he has caused unnecessary tension and did not involve himself with any team activity. We tried to reason with him but his mind was set on going away for a couple of days.

"We are here as a team and it is most important   that   everybody   is together and give a hundred percent. Unfortunately, this was not the case with Uberoi. In the circumstances we asked him to leave. He shall not be taking further part in the event The matter has been reported to the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI)."Never before has an Indian squash player been dropped at an international event because of indiscipline,

Uberoi was skating on this ice here. Coach Yogendra Singh's decision is a bold one and needs to be lauded It remains to be seen what further action the SRFI takes.

Press Articles of Raju Chainani (1997)


Squash on the sands anyone?

Times of India 11/10/1997

Five    thousand years ago, man    made    history    by building the pyramids But history is no spectator sport. The   pyramids,    for all    their splendor and significance, are as much a   product   of man's toils and experiences as they are an inspiration. The Great Pyramid on the Giza Plateau has been a tourist attraction. It has now added a new dimension as the world's richest squash tournament was held there, with the illuminated pyramids providing an Egyptian flavor which was something   out   of the ordinary.

The significance of the competition, which attracted the top male and female players, along with thousands of enthusiasts, was multifaceted. But what truly set this event  apart from other international competitions was the open-air arena with a state of the art, all-glass court nestled against a unique backdrop on the Giza Plateau. A tournament of this magnitude deserved no less and neither did an ancient civilisation whose architectural prowess was rivaled only by its unparalleled culture.

The fans drove in hordes to the foot of the Great Pyramids, a fair sprinkling of sports and show business stars amongst them, in an already excited atmosphere heightened by the spontaneous performance of a local singing idol. On court, the spotlight was on Ahmed Barada, the 20-year-old Egyptian number one. He was required to deliver his country's pride or be labeled as the boy who failed to satisfy the Sphinx. Alas, he lost in the semi­finals, much to the dismay of 5,000 fans who had crammed into the surroundings of the amphitheatre.

The pyramids had been the scene of many a victory and defeat for armies, many a rise and fall of civilizations. A partner in this process was the Nile, a river which has given as much life to those who reside along its banks as it has shaped the course of events 1997 was different. A major sporting spectacle. There was a setting which was to be seen to be believed. The court stood out like a brightly lit transparent box. Who would have imagined that the world's richest squash event was being staged on the sands. Who would have thought that a communication center had been set up and there was the novel experience of sending a fax from the middle of the desert.

As the sun disappeared, the soft lights of the pyramids provided a blend of the old and the new. And the Pharoahs watched in silence as Peter Nicol, the young Scot, made history of another kind by beating Jansher Khan in the final.

Harvard's Indian squash team

Mid-day 28/7/1997

RAJU CHAINANI, from New York in the US of A, has written to tell us about the Harvard University's squash team for the coming season. It has a very Indian look, writes Chainani

Daniel Erza. younger brother of six times men's national champion Adrian, is Harvard's top player. Former national under-19 champion Rishad Billimoria, of Mumbai has been propping up the team for the last three years. And this September Sandip Ghosh, also of Mumbai and Deepak Abraham, of Chennai, are joining Harvard.

Interestingly, Abraham is the only player outside Mumbai to have got a scholarship to this Ivy League university. Eight times national champion Anil Nayar was the first to join Harvard. That was in 1965. Since then, Darius Pandole, Farokh Pandole and Adrian Era have followed suit and all of them have brought honour to Harvard. Two years ago Nayar was the elected to Harvard's Hall of Fame. He is the only Indian to have won the Drysdale Cup. which is regarded as the unofficial world junior championship.

Squash at the Taj

Afernoon 14/12/1997

You’ve had Yanni at the Taj, now you may have squash at the Taj. The idea comes from ‘Prosquash’, newsletter of the Indian Squash Professionals. And they borrowed it from last year’s Al Aharam Internationals at the floodlit Gizza Pyramids in Egypt. It  was a big success, the glass courts drawing 1,500 spectators daily. So if the Mahindras can swing it, we can shift the thunder dome to the Taj by the Jamuna. Note the picture, looks better than Yanni.

Erratic Martin pays

6-11-1997 Mid-day

KUALA LUMPUR, November 6 AN erratic Brett Martin let his first round   encounter with Peter Marshall slip through his fingers at the US $ 130,000 ASCM-Sharp World Men's Squash Open yesterday.

The former  10-8 in the deader but four unforced errors led to his undoing. Marshall had a 15-10,11-15,15-13,11-15,15-12 score line after 75 minutes.

"He set up Marshall and should have won. He had the match in his grasp but did not keep up the pressure", said Geoff Hunt, coach of the Australian team.

Martin had beaten Marshall in straight games at the British Open and had won 3-1 at the Cathay Pacific Open. Here, he should have kept his dean slate. Martin has been a quarter-finalist at the World Open on seven occasions and this was the first time he had gone out in the opening round.

Graham Ryding (Canada), Craig Wapnick (South Africa) and Amjad Khan provided the other upsets of the day. The former put out the world number six Del Harris (England) 15-13,17-14,9-15,15-12 score line after 75 minutes.

Harris, runner-up to Jansher in the 1995 World Open, led 12-10 in the opener and forced the second to extra points. He was found wanting when it mattered most and the young

Canadian was good value for his win which took 69 minutes. Zubair Jahan Khan, the joint ninth seed, went out rather tamely to qualifier Wapnick. The Springbok won 17-5,15-7,15-10. He trailed 7-10 in the third but Zubair, who has had some bad results lately, lost the next eight points mainly due to his tentativeness.

Amjad Khan, the 1995 Asian junior champion made up for Zubair's disappointing snow, rallying splendidly from two games down to beat the Irish number one Derek Ryan 9-15,12-15, 15-10, 15-10, 15-12 in a 68 minute match. Ryan led 7-4 in the fifth but the young Pakistani had the finish and won with a flourish.

His uncle Motbullah, a former world number two and head coach of Pakistan, was impressed by the youngster's fighting qualities. "It was a fine performance. He has been growing in confidence", said Moibullah, For his efforts, Amjad runs into Jonathan Power (Canada) in the second round.

The back galleries were full for the much awaited clash between Brett Martin and Peter Marshall. The Aussie found the tin 11 times in the opener as he went for the inch perfect Despite this, he led 8-7 but his unforced errors allowed Marshall to take this 12 minute game.

The latter led 4-1 in the second A barrage from the ageing maestro soon turned the tide.


Mid-day 11-12-1997

HONG KONG, December 11 PAKISTAN'S Amjad Khan and Zubair Jahan Khan won both their matches to move into the semi-finals of the Hong Kong dollar 400,000 Pak Fah Yeow World Squash doubles championships here yesterday.

The Malaysian pair of Kenneth Low and Michael Soo had a 15-13, 15-9 win over South Africa's Michael Toothil and Morgan Morris.

In the evening session they took on England's Chris Walker and Mark Cairns who are the favourites for the title. Low and Soo were glorious in defeat. They forced the match into a decider and in the end it was a matter of experience prevailing as Walker and Cairns won 15-5,12-15, 15-7 after 48 minutes. The Malaysians play Graeme Sword and Alan Thomson (Scotland) in their concluding match today and a win should see them in the semi finals.

"It all boils down to teamwork. Doubles is a different ball game. You can be the world individual champion but when it comes to doubles, it is a matter of how you play together." Said Major S Maniam, Malaysia's head coach. Maniam is also the Director of Coaching in the Asian Squash Federation.

The local interest is on a high with Abdul Faheem Khan and Jackie Lee in with a chance. But, Singapore have found the going tough. In the ladies event, they have pulled out Mah Li Lian, a four-time Asian champion. Her last win was in 1995 and her presence speaks for itself.

The biggest cheer yesterday was the American pair, Shabana and Latosha Khan who scored a thrilling 17-16, 15-14 win over Canada's Heather Wallace and Melanie Jans in 33 minutes. They lost to South Africa's Claire Nitch and Natalie Grainger in the evening.

Their next match is against the Malaysians and a win should sec them into the semi-finals. 

There are 12 paris in the men's and women's section and have been split into two pools of six. The initial stage is held on a round-robin basis. It is taxing on the players as they have to play two games the same day. For some, it is even tougher as they are also playing in the mixed doubles.

SRAM face players' revolt


MAHARASHTRA'S top squash players launched a broadside against the Squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM) today. In a signed three page show cause notice to the SRAM president Vaman Apte, the players  Akhil Behl, Paul Fereirra, Niraj Shirgaokar, Anil Vaidya, Parth Doshi, Rohan Bhappu, Gaurav Juneja, Rohan Juneja, Jaikiran Juneja, Saket Wali, Abhijit Kukreja and Amit Pal Kohli have questioned the credentials of the secretary Manan Mashruwalla, the camp being conducted by the famed Pakistani coach Rehmat Khan and the specific role of the members of the present managing committee, including Apte's. They have asked Apte to reply to the show cause notice within seven days following which they will decide on the "necessary action." 

The players have charged that Mashruwalla, who is also the joint secretary of the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), has failed to visit the Rehmat Khan coaching camp since it began two months ago. 

The showcase states: 'As you are no doubt aware, there have been problems relating to seedings at events (we believe he is very involved here), there have been deserving Mumbai players who have not been called and his attitude towards the players leaves a lot to be desired. 

"We understand that Rehmat Khan's camp, which started at the CCI on 19th April, had the blessings of the SRAM and the SRFI. The CCI gave the courts free of charge and the players who enrolled paid some money to the SRAM. Bearing this in mind and that Mashruwalla is joint secretary of the SRFI, why were some of the players being pressurized into attending the SRFI camp held at Chennai? Have the SRAM made any compromises with the SRFI on this ?

The letter to the players invited for the Chennai camp did not mention anything as regards payment for their travel to and from Mumbai. What, if anything, did the SRAM do in this regard ?

"The letter also stated that the camp was for probables for "The Commonwealth and Asian Games" which are in 1998. It is silent as regards other events, specifically the Malaysian and Hong Kong Junior Opens which are in August 1997. How is it that the SRFI has only nominated two players for these two events ? What about the top Mumbai juniors ? What, if anything, is the SRAM doing in this matter ?"

The players have also slammed the SRAM for its lack of influence on the SRFI which has resulted in "the Mumbai players being given a shoddy deal."

Another interesting point raised is the absence of a selection trial for the last year's Nationals. "There were no selections for the 1996 Inter State. At the eleventh hour, a make shift team represented Maharashtra. Some of them travelled by the 2 a.m. Air India flight to Delhi and had a match to play a few hours after their arrival. This appears to be a cost cutting effort. How come the SRAM paid some money to a few juniors who went to Scotland and England but could not afford a full fare Mumbai Delhi return ticket for their own senior team which had won the Inter State for the last two years ? Please inform us what, if anything, the SRAM have planned by way of training, tournament participation (local, national and international) and sponsored/financial assistance for the Mumbai juniors and seniors in 1997.

"We have reason to believe that the SRAM have made major financial commitments. Apparently, Rehmat Khan has been signed up on a two year contract worth Rs 12 lakhs (twelve lakhs). Apparently, the Junior Nationals are to be held in Mumbai and this could cost two to three lakhs. Where is the money ? Does the SRAM have the funds to meet Rehmat Khan's contract which started in April?

"The SRAM made it clear to certain players that if they did not attend Rehmat Khan's camp, they would not be considered for selection or "promotion". Please explain why a top junior, who should be in Rehmat's camp, has apparently been training with Robert Edwards in England What action, if any, is the SRAM going to take on this? Please also advise if the SRAM or any of its committee members have a special deal with Edwards."

The SRAM chief Apte, when contacted stated that he is tied down with business commitments and he would be reply to the show cause notice on Monday.


Squash players form body

By A Staff Reporter
Times of India 3/7/1997

MUMBAI: Squash players have taken a cue from their tennis counterparts by coming together and forming a national body which will be called Indian Squash Players Association (ISPA).

The main aim of this association ill be to promote and develop the game in India. This will include better facilities, and more incentives to the players. The ISPA is hoping that the players will be given more say in the future. They also hope to play a part when seedings are made for future tournaments. The squash calender henceforth will be announced earlier and it will include local, national and international events.

Initially, ISPA will organise the Club Aquaria tournament to be held in Borivli form July 11.

India number two Udai Singh has been elected president of the association. "The national federation has been lax in forwarding details of international events resulting in our boys missing out on international exposure. For instance the World championship is to be held in September in Kuala Lumpur, which is our backyard. It's not so expensive. Yet, there is no word whether India will be participating.

Rahmat Khan, newly-appointed coach of the Squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra, said the association could hold its own tournament during blank periods in the calendar.

Following are the member: Udai Singh (president). Akhil Behl, Paul Ferreira, Dr Anil Vaidya, Niraj Shirgaokar, Rajdeep Brar, Cyrus Poncha, Rohan Bhappu, Amitpal Kohli, Gaurav Juneja. Rohan Juneja. Parth Doshi, Abhjit Kukreja, Saket Walt, Mekhala Subedar, Karishma Juneja, Partneeta Chaudhari, Deepika Chandratreya. Ayesha Shah, Rhea Bhandare, Jigisha Mehta.

Honorary members and patrons: Tony Juneja, Mahendra Agrawal, Subhash Wall. Amar Kukreja,  Dr.Doshi.


By Sunder Rajan
Mid-day Sports
Thursday, July 3, 1997

ROUND one to Prakash Padukone. Also   two,   three and four. So swift is his advance that he seems unstoppable. More power to his arm. 

He has already achieved a major feat by forcing Fazil Ahmed to step down as the Badminton Association of India (BAI) president And this was the man who had asked whether Prakash could not wait seven months for the BAI elections.

No one could shake him during the three decades that Fazil ruled the BAI with an iron hand. Even government guidelines specifying the term of office-bearers had little effect on him.

When the Indian Badminton Confederation (IBC) was formed with Prakash at the helm, Fazil had dubbed it as a "big joke." Not content with that he had ridiculed the greatest player Indian badminton has seen by dubbing him as "a coach and employee" who was exploiting the talent shaped by others for monetary benefit.

Fazil has now had to eat the humble pie. And V K Verma who has taken over has not only persevered with Fazil's refrain that the BAI is supreme and has the backing of the Asian Badminton Confederation but has also warned that indiscipline would not be tolerated. It is an obvi­ous reference to players supporting Prakash.

Now both Fazil and Verma want to have a dialogue with Prakash. It is a frank admission that the BAI is reeling under the flurry of blows being delivered by the State units who are disaffiliating themselves one by one and joining the IBC.

All these days Fazil was the BAI. Now the IBC bids to to take over. A patch-up may seem ideal but it may at best provide a temporary truce because of radical differences between the two in the approach to the game.

It will be too much to expect a transformation in the functioning of the BAI because it continues to be run by the same set of men who were servile to Fazil. The IBC, on the other hand, is player-oriented, wants to set up a brand new order and introduce a degree of professionalism. Indian badminton direly needs a thorough overhaul and Prakash looks the Messiah.

Simultaneously, he has become the inspiration for sportsmen in other disciplines who have had to silently bear all the suffering and stomach indignities heaped on them for long.

The latest to join the fray are the squash players. They fired the first salvo by questioning the functioning of the Squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra (SRAM). They have followed it up by forming the Indian Squash Players Association.

The presence of practically all the top players of the country at the Rs. 4 lakhs Videocon Classic acted as the springboard. There is a major difference though. Vaman Apte, who heads the SRAM and himself a keen player, has welcomed the formation of a players' body. On their part, the players have assured that their intention is not to form a rival body but to streamline the functioning of the official organizations and make them accountable as well as receptive to players' needs and aspirations.

Like the BAI, the Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) as well as the SRAM have been run according to the whims and fancies of a few and not in the best interests of the players who ought to matter most.

One instance should suffice; Rohan Bappu came all the way from Singapore to participate in the Videocon Classic only because he was denied entry to the Malaysian Satellite in Kuala Lumpur.

The SRFI had recommended the names of two others. However, neither of them was keen to make the trip. Besides, the Malaysians had no objection to entertaining a third or fourth entry. All these did not matter in the least to the SRFI whose secretary, Ramachandran, had instructed the Malaysians that entries forwarded by him alone should be accepted.

It was the easiest thing for Bappu, an India U-19 player and a student at Singapore, to go to Kuala Lumpur. He was paying his own way and wanted a higher level of competition. Strangely, the SRFI would have none of it even though it was not spending a paisa.

Such utterly unsympathetic attitude is what riles the players and makes them rise in revolt. They sweat and toil and their parents incur heavy expenditure. Yet, they are either not allowed entry or are informed at the last minute and their pleas and queries remain unanswered.

How little the SRFI cares for the future can be seen from the fact that it has not sent in India's entry for the World Championships in Kuala Lumpur in November even though the costs would be minimal.

A great opportunity to provide players with much needed exposure and prepare them for the subsequent Asian has been lost Even as tile nation is celebrating its 50th year of independence it will be in the fitness of things if sportsmen are freed from bondage.


Book on squash

Times of India 22-10-1997

A book on squash, with articles from leading writers on the game, was released by one of the patrons of the sport in the city, M K. Sanghi, on Monday night.

The 48-page book titled The Best of Men's World Squash, has action photographs of legends of the game like Hashim Khan, the first of the great Pathans of Pakistan who have ruled the squash world, Jonah Barrington, Geoff Hunt, Jahangir Khan and reigning world champion Jansher Khan

Compiled and edited by Raju Chainani, the book contains articles about the great squash players of yesteryears   and   today   by   well-known writers like Rex Bellamy and Dicky   Rutnagur,   besides   India's eight-time   exnational   champion Anil Nayar.