India look for maiden Commonwealth Games squash medal

Updated: Sep 21, 2010, 13:23 PM IST

New Delhi: Squash has never been a medal contributor for India at the Commonwealth Games but with some in-form players making waves internationally, the jinx could be broken this time when the mega-event is held here from October 3.

Ever since its introduction in the Commonwealth Games in 1998, squash has been one of the low-profile events for India but with the likes of Saurav Ghosal, Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal and Siddharth Suchde, the country can aim for a medal haul in the doubles and mixed doubles categories at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

Ranked 26th in the world and India`s top player Saurav Ghosal is realistic about his chances in the men`s singles event but believes India can pack a punch when it comes to team events.

The notable omission of former India number one Ritwik Bhattacharya from the squad also makes Ghosal`s task a bit harder in the individual event where the field comprises England, Malaysia and Australia, considered to be traditional powerhouses in the sport.

"In the singles event, I need to pull off a couple of upsets in order to advance to the later stages. I am confident of doing that in front of the home crowd. May be I would be playing world number 12 or world number one in the pre-quarters. I think the draw will make a lot of difference," the 24-year-old Kolkata player said.

"In mixed-doubles and doubles, the Indians have a good shot at the medal. I would be playing with Dipika in the mixed and we have done pretty well in recent past. Harinder Pal Sandhu will line-up with Joshna Chinappa in another mixed doubles pairing. They have also done a great.”

"So we have bright chances in that category. In doubles, Joshna-Dipika pack a punch. They are simply great in their equation," said Ghosal.

The entire 10-member contingent is taking part in the event for the first time and coach Cyrus Poncha feels they have the ability to produce good results in front of the home crowd.

"India have never won a Commonwealth Games medal. We do hope this year we will be able to change this record," said Poncha.

PTI