Former Junior Asian champion, Joshna Chinappa won the women’s title at the Asian Squash Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. Saurav Ghosal won the men’s title.

Second seed Chinappa defended top seed Annie Au of Hong Kong 11-5, 8-11, 11-6, 11-6 in the final. Ghosal, the top seed and finalist last year, beat fourth seed Leo Au Chun Ming from Hong Kong in straight games 11-9, 11-2, 11-8. Joshna retained her title while Saurav won his first Asian crown.

Talking about how crucial this win was for her, Chinappa, India’s top squash player, told ESPN, “I thought I really played well in the final. I had lost to Annie few times prior to this. So I had come prepared, and the court and the conditions helped. More importantly I found the length and that was the key and yes I am very happy to defend the title.”

Chinappa’s remarkable win came after their previous meeting last month in the Macau Open when Annie had beaten her in straight games for her 12th win in 20 meetings between the two. In fact, since the Hong Kong International Open in 2017, Chinappa couldn’t succeed against the Hong Kong player.

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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 professional Squash player in 2003.
  • Chinappa also became the youngest women’s national squash champion, coached by Malcolm Willstrop.
  • Chinappa, in 2016, secured a career high 10th position in the PSA world rankings, the highest she had 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 year 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 eight-time world champion Nicol David, a legend of the game and 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!

Feature Image Credit: Sportskeeda

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