Squash has finally arrived in the Indian State of Kerala.
Technically a national level competition in squash took place in the state last year as part of the National Games, but this will be the first time that a national championship will be hosted by Kerala. The 63rd edition of the senior national championship is to be held at the modern air-conditioned Chandrasekharan Nair squash stadium in Thiruvananthapuram from July 7th to 12th.
The squash facility at the Kerala Police’s Chandrasekharan Nair stadium has three singles courts and one for doubles events, with seating capacity for 3,000 people.
For the national championship in all there are 333 entries in the mens’ and womens’ sections. The list includes World number 21 and nine time winner, Saurav Ghosal, who lost to Harinder Pal Sandhu last year. As the top seed, Saurav will be keen to wrest the title from his friend and World number 58 Harinder for whom last year’s success was his first. Others in the men’s section who would demand attention include Ravi Dixit, Kush Kumar, Sandeep Jangra, Vijay Kumar and Gaurav Nandrajog ,though Mahesh Mangaonkar will be missed. In addition will be an array of junior players eager to make a mark.
In the women’s section, the focus will be on top seed Joshna Chinappa, the reigning champion and 13 time winner. However the highest ranked Indian on the international circuit, world #18 Dipika Pallikal, will once again skip the event. Also absent will be the talented Anaka Alankamony, who studies in the USA. Otherwise there will a bunch of highly resourceful junior talents like Harshit Kaur, Sunayna Kuruvilla, Akanksha Salunkhe and others who could give a good test to the seniors.
As well as the main men’s and women’s events there are masters and professional categories.