Medal-less Indian squash team can turn it around in Glasgow
Glasgow: The six-member Indian squash team, led by Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal, begins its Commonwealth Games campaign with the singles competition here tomorrow, well aware that it has a good chance of winning its first ever medal in the quadrennial event.
Though India`s best bet for a medal is in the doubles and mixed doubles, World No. 16 Ghosal and 10th-ranked Pallikal are capable of springing a surprise in the individual category.
Ghosal, seeded fourth, takes on little-known Jules Snagg of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in his opener at the Scotstoun Sports Campus.
The Indian is drawn to meet eigth seeded Malaysian Ong Beng Hee in the quarterfinals and England`s second seed James Willstrop in the semifinals. The other Englishmen dominating the draw are top seed Nick Matthew and third seed Peter Barker.
"The draw looks fine. I am focussing on getting through one match at a time," Ghosal told PTI.
On his first match, he said: "I have not seen him play before as he is not on the professional tour. Hopefully I will play well and win. Later in the evening, I could end up playing Paul Coll from New Zealand."
Harinder Pal Sandhu and Mahesh Mangaonkar are the other Indians in the men`s singles draw. Sandhu takes on Northern Ireland`s Michael Craig and Mangaokar meets Kenyan Hardeep Reel.
Hopes are pinned on Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa in the women`s section.
Sixth seed Pallikal has been given first round bye and will play her opening match later tomorrow against the winner of the contest between Trinidad`s Charlotte Knaggs and Sri Lankan Naduni Gunawardane.
"I am aiming for medals in all three categories (singles, doubles and mixed). Having said that, the approach would be to take it match and match and see how it goes. I am fully motivated to give my best as it will be my first time at the Games," said Pallikal, who pulled out of the 2010 Delhi Games at the last minute owing to fever.
Chinappa, seeded 12th, also has a first round bye. She will play either Wales` Deon Saffery or Malta`s Kimberly Borg-Cauchi in the second round.
The third Indian in the women`s draw, Anaka Alankamony, faces Khaaliqa Nimji of Kenya in the first round.