Indian squash players brace up for World Junior Squash C`ships
New Delhi: Riding on their best-ever medal haul in the Asian Junior Squash Championships, the Indian racqueters have now set their sights on the World Junior Championships to be played in Doha from July 7-18.
The Indian junior players returned home with nine medals from the 19th Asian Junior tourney held at Kish Island, Iran, including two gold medals by Anaka Alankamony and Kush Kumar and a silver by Dev Vazarani.
While Alankamony retained her girls under-19 Asian crown, becoming the first Indian to win back-to-back titles, Kush Kumar took home his first Asian title.
Alankamony, Aparajitha Balamurukan, Sachika Ingle, Harshit Kaur Jawanda and Lakshya Raghavendra comprise the girls` contingent for World Junior Championships.
Junior national champion Mahesh Mangaonkar, Vivek Pinodia, Deepak Mishra, Abhishek Pradhan, Vrishab Kotian and Kush form the boys` squad.
Mahesh, Kush, Abhishek and Vrishab will be staying back for the team championship.
Players from 29 countries will be battling it out in the girls` and boys` individual championships (from July 7-12), which will be followed by the biennial World Junior Team Championship (from July 13-18).
Two-time Asian champion Alankamony is India`s best bet in the girls` category. Her first real test would be in the quarterfinals where she would clash against world number 31 Egyptian Yathreb Adel.
If she manages to get past Adel, a strong opponent in second seed Emily Whitlock of England awaits her in the semifinals.
The boys` field in the individual category includes Egyptians Marwan El Shorbagy and Mohamed Abouelghar, and Pakistan`s Danish Atlas Khan.
The tournament will be played at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex.
Individual Draw (Indians): Boys 1st round draw: Yousif Ali (KUW) v Deepak Mishra (IND) [9/16] Syed Hamzah Shah Bukhari (PAK) v Kush Kumar (IND) Blessing Muhwate (ZIM) v Vivek Dinodia (IND) [5/8] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bye Vrishab Kotian (IND) v Taiki Kaido (JPN) [9/16] Abhishek Pradhan (IND) v Mateo Vargas (COL).
Girls 1st round draw: Megan Page (RSA) v Harshit Kaur Jawanda (IND) [9/16] Aparajitha Balamurukan (IND) bye [5/8] Anaka Alankamony (IND) bye Lakshya Ragavendran (IND) v Reeham Sedky (USA) Marie Stephan (FRA) v Sachika Ingale (IND).