Former Junior Asian champion, Joshna Chinappa has won the National Champion title, for a record 17th time. She outplayed her Tamil Nadu rival Sunayna Kuruvilla in the final on Sunday. Chinappa, the top seed, defeated Kuruvilla 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 11-5 in the summit clash of the 76th Senior National Squash Championship women’s event at the Amanora Mall Glass Squash court in Pune. She played her first ever Senior National tournament 20 years ago.

The World Number 13 Tamil Nadu player Chinappa has now broken the previous milestone set by Bhuvneshwari Kumari, a 16-time national champion, whose record stood for 27 years.

The 32-year old champ has made a record for the most number of national titles won.

“I look at the Nationals as something very prestigious. I have always wanted to play it and I told myself that I’ll play as many as I can,” Joshna told TOI after her win.

“Nationals are something, when you are growing up, you look forward to. And when you get a chance to play something like this, I don’t know why you should not do it even after reaching a great level,” believes Joshna who played her first premier domestic event at the age of 12 where she lost in the semifinal. “Whenever I am fit, I will play the Nationals,” she went on to add.

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Things to know about Joshna Chinappa:

  • Chinappa, who hails from Chennai, is the first Indian to win the British squash championship in 2003 U19 category. She became a professional Squash player in 2003.
  • Chinappa also became the youngest women’s national squash champion, coached by Malcolm Willstrop.
  • In 2016, she secured 10th position in the PSA world rankings, the highest she has ever reached in her squash career. With this, Joshna had become the second Indian woman to break into the top 10 after Dipika Pallikal who did so in December 2012.
  • Before that, Chinappa’s consistent performance over the years is noteworthy.  She had first put up a good show in the HKFC International tournament in Hong Kong, reaching her biggest ever final. Following which, she fought well in the Asian championship in Chinese-Taipei. Then she was runner-up in Hong Kong, losing to top-seeded Joelle King of New Zealand but not before ousting the second-seeded Annie Au of Hong Kong in the semi-final.
  • Before making it to the 10th position, Joshna was suffering from a career-threatening ACL injury but she has managed to overcome that through sheer will and determination.
  • In 2017, she became the first Indian to ever win the 19th Asian Individual Squash Championships, thus scripting history.
  • The Indian pair of Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal assured a bronze medal at the WSF World Doubles Squash Championship 2017.
  • Prior to that, Joshna-Dipika won the gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games making it India’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal in the sport.
  • In 2018, she bagged bronze in squash women’s singles at the Asian Games 2018
  • Last year, she upstaged the legendary eight-time world champion Nicol David, who is also a five-time Asiad singles gold medallist, as the Indian women’s squash team outplayed defending champions Malaysia 2-0 to enter its second successive Asian Games final

Congratulations Joshna!

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