India entered the final in both the boys and girls’ sections at the same time, only for the second time in history, in the Asian junior team squash championship in Seoul. It did so earlier in Islamabad in 2003.
In the girls’ section, Lakshya Ragavendran won the deciding point to help the team move into the final against Malaysia. After Aparajitha Balamurukan went down to Rachel Arnold in straight games, it was left to India No. 1 Anaka Alankamony to prove her mettle and she showed her class while defeating Malaysian top seed Vanessa Raj Gnanasigamani in straight games to give India the victory.
The win helped India avenge its loss to Malaysia in the last championship. The Indian girls will play Hong Kong in the final.
Meanwhile, the boys’ team also entered the title-round after getting the better of Hong Kong 2-1. Kush Kumar won the first match, but after a hard fight against Wong Chi Him. Kush pinned his opponent on his backhand and played some accurate drops to win in four games.
Mahesh Mangaonkar won his match convincingly to ensure India’s passage into the final, where it plays top seed Pakistan. Madhav Dhingra went down in straight games in the dead rubber.
The results: Semifinals: Boys: India bt Hong Kong 2-1 (Kush Kumar bt Wong Chi Him 11-3, 11-2, 8-11, 11-4; Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Yeung Ho Wai 11-5, 11-4, 11-8; Madhav Dhingra lost to Leung Chi Hin Henry 5-11, 9-11).
Girls: India bt Malaysia 2-1 (Aparajitha Balamurukan lost to Rachel Mae Arnold 4-11, 7-11, 5-11; Anaka Alankamony bt Vanessa Raj Gnanasigamani 11-4, 11-7, 11-5; Lakshya Ragavendran bt Celine Yeap Shu Wan 11-6, 11-6, 13-11). —
Keywords: 16th Asian Junior Squash Championship