At Heriot Watt University,
Edinburgh : 10th January 2016
Girls Under-13: Ananya Dabke
(IND) finished in third place, with Lucie Stefanoni
(USA) in fourth. Boys Under-15: Alasdair Prott (SCO)
gave the home crowd its first trophy, in the U15 Boys
competition, overcoming Saksham Choudhary (IND) 11-2
8-11 11-5 11-6 Boys Under-19: Jamie Todd (ENG)
finished in third place, with Siddharth Choudhary (IND)
Scottish Junior Open had Competitors from seven different nations across five continents at Edinburgh ’s Heriot Watt University.
In a stunning Boys Under 13 final England ’s Nick Wall avenged last week’s British Open final loss to Tushar Shahani ( IND ) by beating the number 2 seed in a five game marathon. Shahani had taken the first two games, before the English number 1 kicked into life to win 3-2 and take the title.
After the game, a breathless Nick Wall said: “It was really tight. This was a big match because he beat me 3-1 last week.
“I don’t know what was wrong at the start”, he added, “maybe I reacted too much to the way he was playing because as the match went on I got more confident and started to play my own game.”
Having lost the first game, number 1 seed Satomi Watanabe (JAP) cooly beat India ’s Akanska Salunke to triumph in the Girls Under 15 final. Her number 2 seeded rival looked to have the upper hand in the second game before Watanabe came from behind, going on to win the watch 3-1.
Boys Under 13 final (3) Nick Wall (ENG) bt (2) Tushar Shahani ( IND ) 7-11 9-11 14-12 16-14 11-5
Girls Under 15 final (1) Satomi Watanabe (JAP) bt (2) Akanska Salunke ( IND ) 5-11 11-8 11-2 11-3
Dempo Goodwill Ambassador Akanksha Salunkhe stole the thunder in the Scottish Open Junior Squash tournament with a commendable second-place finish, which was much above her overall 9th standing in the preceding British Open Junior Squash tournament.
In the semi-finals was supposed to be a tough arena for the young Akanksha and having thus far not dropped a set till the quarters, the Goan lass had to counter a rated opponent in Nikita Joshi of India. Having won the first two sets 11-6, 12-10, Akanksha lost the third 7-11. However, showing nerves of steel, the Dempo Ambassador kept her sponsors’ flag flying high and came up trumps in the fourth set winning it 11-7 and thus making a historic entry into the finals of the competition with a 3-1 sets win.
That set the Goan challenger up for the final clash against Satomi Watanabe of Japan and what a final it proved to be as Akanksha fought tooth and nail to sweep her maiden Scottish title. But in the end, the Japanese had the last final hurrah and won the match in three straight sets 11-7, 11-5, 11-6.
Satomi who had the reputation of being a fine player from Japan had stood overall fourth in the British Open whilst Akanksha was ninth, but that did not matter as the Goan fought all the way till the end and ensured that she at least kept her hopes alive of winning the title with an entry into the finals.
What was truly commendable was the fact that Akanksha’s performance was consistent and she played well without being under pressure. She played to be better player every time she took centre stage and raised the bar a notch higher and in the end put Goa on the world map, showing one and all that yes here was a quality player from a tiny Indian state that had the potential to make it big and the one who held a great deal of promise.
Akanksha’s father Cdr Hemant Salunkhe pointed out that Akanksha’s steady rise up the ladder by finishing 9th in the best junior squash tournament in the world, which was the British Open and claiming the second place in the Scottish tournament can be attributed to her sheer hard work and more importantly her coach, Mr Rehman Saiyed who while being in small place like Goa had succeeded in moulding her ward into such a formidable player that the world is taking note of.
"I can once again reiterate that in case of Akanksha, her crowing as Dempo Goodwill Ambassador has made a huge difference and made it possible to train well and participate in tournaments. Participation in tournaments is absolutely critical to improve your game and it shows abundantly in her case," Mr Salunkhe reminded, signing off on a positive note.
At the same time, Sandeep Ramachandran and Druv Vazirani also stood 2nd in their respective category of U-15 and U-13 while Nikita Joshi stood 3rd and Aishwarya Nambiar stood 4th in the girls U-13 and U-15 category, respectively.
Delhi boy Kush Kumar won his maiden European
title when he wonthe Scottish Junior Open squash tournament in the boys'
under-13 category. Dominating his category, Kush won all
his matches without dropping a game in Edinburgh.
capped an excellent year in which he won the Malaysian Junior Open, Penang
Junior Open and the junior National titles.
Edinburgh event, Yohan Pandole came third while Sandeep Ramachandran
finished fifth in the under-13 category. Among others, Deepak Mishra
finished runner-up in the under-15 category, where Rahil Fazelbhoy came
In the girls'
under-13 section, Pankhuri Malhotra came third.
Siddarth Suchde did India proud defeating top seed Jose
Angel Becerill of Mexico in the final, to clinch gold in the blue riband
under-19 boy's event in the Scottish Junior Open. This is the first time
India has bagged gold in the event. Suchde, the second seed won 10-8, 9-4,
9-2 in the girls U-19 event final Joshna Chinappa, met her match in Susie
Pierrepont (Englad). Susie won 9-4, 9-3, 9-4. In the boy's U-13 event
Ramit Tandon of Kolkata won the title defeating fancied Egyptian Islam
Khal Elfiky 9-6, 9-6, 10-8 in the final. In the U-13 girls event, Anwesha,
current National Champion in the same category, lost to compatriot Dipika
Pallikal 9-4, 9-0, 6-9, 5-9, 3-9
Indian had a windfall today with the
largest ever representation in this event culminating in the best ever
result. While Ramit Tandon (Calcutta) became only the third Indian ever
(the first being Joshna Chinnapa and second Harininder Sandhu) to win a
title in the 17th edition of the Scottish Junior Open Squash Championship-
the Second biggest Squash event for Juniors after the British Juniors,
Siddharth Suchde became the first Indian to reach the Final of the Boys
U-19 event. He had beaten Jose Becerril Gonzalez (Mexico) 9-5, 9-4, 7-9,
9-1 earlier in the day in the Semi Final.
Pitted against the Top
Seed Dylan Bennet (Netherlands) in the Final, Suchde showed no signs of
being overawed at any stage of the match. Dylan had a better start from
the Pole position with a quick lead of 3-1, but Suchde stuck to the
elementry game-plan of driving the ball to length without any attempt to
wallop the ball as most Juniors do these days, armed with Titanium
rackets. Bennet lost his patiecne with not just the ball, but the Referee
as well, getting into frequent arguments. Suchde went ahead 6-3, but Dylan
showed his superior class and snatched the game 9-6. The second game saw
Suchde level 3-3 from a deficit of 1-3, when in a gesture of highest
sportsmanship, he admitted to his Drop being 'down' even after the Referee
had called it 'good'. He lost the game 5-9 despite having Dylan on the
receiving end on several occasions. Dylan was put in tight spots in the
third game as well, but owing to his advantage in age, exposure and
experience was never in any doubt about taking the Championship. Next year
though, Suchde will be at his peak in the U-19 age group, and we can look
forward to more exploits from him.
However, Ramit Tandon did not
want to wait anything close to a year and took the Under-11 Title againt
the hard hitting dynamo from Scotland- Robert Downer. While losing the
first game 5-9, he not only won the next 9-5, but left Downer bewildered
with the 9-0 score in the third. He won the fourth 9-2, making his first
outing to U.K. a successful one.
Dipika Pallikal (Chennai) lacked
the experience that her opponent Emily Park from USA had, and lost 0-9,
1-9, 1-9 without putting Emiliy into any trouble. She stood Runners up in
the Girls Under-13 section. Joshna Chinappa (Chennai) played in the
3-4 place playoff like she should have played yesterday in the Semi Final!
She beat Genevieve Lessard (Canada) 9-3, 9-2, 9-2 to finish third in the
Girls Under-17 section.
Rishi Tandon (Calctta) finished in the 9th
place in the Under-11 event, while Harinder Sandhu (Chandigarh) finished
at a commendable 13th place, beating C.J.Plimpton (USA) 9-2, 9-4, 9-1.
Harinder, now 13 years of age, will peak in the Under-15 age group next
30 Dec- Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (Chd) won his first International title,
beating Second seed Karim Ahmed El Dabha (Egypt) 5-9, 9-4, 9-4, 10-8. He
became the first Indian Boy to win a Scotish Junior Open title in the last
sixteen years since the event has been held (Joshna Chinappa being the first
Harinder started nervously, making several unforced
errors, despite an early lead at 3-0. This gave Karim the chance he was
looking for, and he took the first game 9-5. In the second, Harinder
regrouped, focused on keeping the ball in play, and put Karim under immense
pressure, making him scamper to every corner. Karim wilted, and Harinder won
9-4. Having regained his composure and confidence, there was no looking
back in the third game (9-4). In the fourth, Karim put up a spirited fight,
matching Harinder shot for shot, but Harinder always had an upper hand. At
4-4 however, Karim was warned by the referee for his frequent outburst in
his 'native dialect', and that unsettled him, giving Harinder an easy point,
and a lead at 5-4. Although Karim, in true Egyptian fiery spirit, put in his
best effort, Harinder made no mistakes, except for a minor hiccup at 8-7,
match ball, where he put the ball in the tin, allowing Karim to level at
8-8. Harinder, however, was in no mood to wait long for his first Major
title, and closed the match at 10-8.
Besides his first major title,
which happens to be the second most important in the world after the British
juniors, Harinder also won praise and appreciation from the icons in World
squash. The President of Scottish Squash, Mr. Archie McCue, and Mr. Rehmat
Khan, Coach and Mentor of the Legendary Jehangir Khan, reiterated the point
that Harinder is indeed a prodigy. Further, Harinder's impeccable On (and
Off) Court behaviour- in never even 'appealing', let alone contesting
referees' decisions; letting the Racket, and not ones mouth do the talking;
and stupendous sportsmanship and regard and respect for all opponents
-attracted a great deal of praise. The officials and the spectators alike
just loved him, and look forward to following his progress in the future.
As for the other Indians, Siddharth Suchde (Mah) had lost earlier in the
Semi Final to Safeer Khan (Pak) 3-9, 1-9, 0-9. He finished third, beating
Jorge Quintero (Colombia), a very talented player from a country not known
for Squash, 9-2, 9-5, 9-7 in the 3/4 place playoff.
(T.N.) finished fifth, beating Emma Barrat (England) 9-5, 9-1, 9-7 in the
5/6 position playoffs.
India's Joshna Chinnappa won the junior Scottish Squash open defeating
Kirtsy McPhee of England 10-9,9-7,7-9,10-8 in the final on Wednesday night.
Joshna Chinnappa had won the under-13 Scottish junior squash open title last
year. Times of India, Mumbai December 31,1999.
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