Top seed Harinder Pal Sandhu hopes for home glory in Chennai
By LIESL GOECKER – Squash Mad Correspondent in Chennai
On Sunday (October 18), more than 32 international pro squash players will descend on Chennai for last leg of the JSW Indian Squash Circuit, a PSA 10k men’s and women’s tournament hosted by the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) and the SRFi. Players from India, Egypt, Pakistan, UK, Malaysia, Netherlands, Finland and more will go head-to-head in fierce match-ups from the start.
Fans will be cheering for former Indian National Champion and top-seeded Harinderpal Singh Sandhu, who trains at the ISA in Chennai and is aiming to win the tournament.
Sandhu, ranked No. 56 in the world, has been playing well, competing in the Main Draw of the last two Circuit events – the CCI International in Mumbai and Kolkata International, 35k tournaments – and making it to the quarter-finals of the NSCI Open, a 15k tournament in Mumbai last month.
But it won’t be easy. Sandhu will have tough competition in Egypt’s Mohamed Reda, the tournament’s second seed and World No. 64. Like Sandhu, Reda made it into the Quarterfinal of the NSCI Open in Mumbai last month, as well as the Main Draw of the Kolkata International. But Reda kicked off October with a win, taking the Norwegian Open, a 15k tournament, 3-0 against World No. 53 Joe Lee in the final.
Joel Makin of Wales is also expected to put in a strong performance, coming off his first PSA title in August. Kush Kumar, seeded fifth, who just broke into the world’s top 100 after putting in top-class performances at the Kolkata International and playing his way into the Main Draw of the CCI International in Mumbai last month.
In the women’s tournament, the Netherlands’ Milou van der Heijden has a slight edge as the World No. 41 and top seed. Heijden, whose last win was the New South Wales Open, a 5k tournament in August, meets World No. 114, Pakistan’s Sadia Gul in the Main Draw.
Heijden could face India’s Sachika Ingale, who is likely to get a boost from the excitement of playing on home soil. World No. 46 Nouran El Torky of Egypt, will be looking for her first win since last year’s Circuit. Liu Tsz-Ling of Hong Kong and Millie Tomlinson of England round out the top women’s competition.
Men’s and women’s champions will each take home US$ 1,444.00.
“The JSW Indian Squash Circuit in its second year has been of immense benefit to our professional players,” said Cyrus Poncha, India National Coach. “Last year, we witnessed Harinder¹s surge in the rankings, and this year we see Kush scaling new heights. We are looking forward to the upcoming event at the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai, the home of both Harinder, Kush and many other top juniors.”
“On behalf of the PSA, as well as players, we are excited to be back in Chennai for the second year to conclude the JSW Indian Squash Circuit 2015,” said Ritwik Bhattacharya, PSA Asia Representative. “A big thank you to our sponsors and partners – JSW, Reliance, SRFi, the Indian Squash Academy as well as the Murugappa Group. Without them, this would not have been possible.”
“The JSW Indian Squash Circuit Chennai 2015 is a wonderful opportunity for Indian squash players as well as their international peers,” said Raj Arora, tournament promoter.
“We hope to see many keen juniors in the crowd at the Indian Squash Academy starting Sunday, to learn from the professionals. It’s a great opportunity made possible by our sponsors and partners, so thanks to JSW, Reliance, SRFi, ISA, the Murugappa Group, as well as the city of Chennai.”
The JSW Indian Squash Circuit Chennai 2015 is the last tournament of the annual JSW Indian Squash Circuit.
For more details, please visit the JSW Circuit website: www.indiansquashcircuit.com
JSW Indian Circuit, Chennai Open.
Men’s main draw. First Round (October 19):
Harinderpal Singh Sandhu (IND) v Qualifier @ 16.30
Qualifier v Matias Tuomi (FIN) 16.30
Ammar Altamimi (KUW) v Addeen Idrakie (MAS) @ 16.30
Qualifier v Mohamed Elgawarhy (EGY) @ 16.30
Joel Makin (WAL) v Muhammad Hannan (MAS) @ 17.15
Vijay Kumar (IND) v Mazen Gamal (EGY) @ 17.15
Kush Kumar (IND) v Chi Him Wong (HKG) @ 17.15
Qualifier v Mohamed Reda (EGY) @ 17.15
Women’s First Round:
Milou van der Heijden (NED) v Sadia Gul (PAK) @ 15.00
Sachika Ingale (IND) v Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG) @ 15.00
Vanessa Raj (MAS) v Akanksha Salunkhe (IND) @ 15.00
Qualifier v Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) @ 15.00
Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Qualifier @ 15.45
Qualifier v Lee Ka Yi (HKG) @ 15.45
Victoria Temple-Murray (ENG) v Qualifier @ 15.45
Zulhijjah Binti Azan (MAS) v Nouran El Torky (EGY) @ 15.45