Friday, July 19, 2024

India and Malaysia share Asian Games gold medals

Saurav Ghosal goes mad as he gains revenge to lead Indian men to team title 
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent

GOLDEN BOY: Saurav Ghosal goes wild as he celebrates his gold medal
GOLDEN BOY: Saurav Ghosal goes wild as he celebrates his gold medal

For the first time in history, India and Malaysia contested both team finals in the 17th Incheon Asian Games Squash Championships in the Republic of Korea, with honours ultimately shared – Malaysia retaining the women’s title and India clinching men’s gold for the first time. 

malasiaIt was double gold for the second time in four years for world number one Nicol David, who followed her record fourth individual gold medal at the Yeorumul Squash Centre in Incheon by leading Malaysia (victorious squad pictured right) to success in the team event.

Third string Delia Arnold put the favourites into the lead with an 11-9, 12-10, 11-2 victory over India’s Anaka Alankamony before David despatched Indian number one Dipika Pallikal 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 to give Malaysia the title.

India’s men plotted their Incheon campaign to perfection.

Runners-up to Malaysia in the qualifying group after losing to the No2 seeds, third seeds India made it to the final after defeating Kuwait in the semi-finals – a tie in which top string Saurav Ghosal avenged his surprise defeat to Kuwaiti number one Abdullah Al Muzayen in the individual gold medal match.

And revenge was the order of the day in the final when India beat Malaysia 2/0 – Harinder Pal Sandhu first overcoming Malaysian No3 Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4 before world No16 Ghosal survived a dramatic clash with experienced Malaysian Ong Beng Hee to beat the former world No7 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-14, 11-9 in 88 minutes.

Saurav Ghosal is mobbed on court
Saurav Ghosal is mobbed on court

There were scenes of unbridled jubilation as the Indian squad engulfed Ghosal (pictured above seconds after clinching victory) to celebrate their long-awaited Asian Games breakthrough.

“It’s a dream come true,” exclaimed Indian national coach Cyrus Poncha, while fellow team official Maj S. Maniam said: “It was an outstanding performance – the best I have seen from India so far!

“I have never seen Harinder play with such brilliance,” added Maniam.

The team successes took the India’s 2014 Asian Games tally to four medals – one gold, two silver and a bronze. The country achieved three bronze medals at Guangzhou four years ago.

17th Asian Games Team Squash Championships, Incheon, Republic of Korea

Men’s semi-finals:
[3] INDIA bt [4] KUWAIT 2/0
Mahesh Mangaonkar bt Ammar Altamimi 11-4, 11-3, 12-10 (37m)
Saurav Ghosal bt Abdullah Al Muzayen 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-3 (62m)
Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan bt Leo Au 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7 (80m)
Ong Beng Hee bt Max Lee 2-11, 11-6, 13-11, 11-8 (54m)
[3] INDIA bt [2] MALAYSIA 2/0
Harinder Pal Sandhu bt Mohd Azlan Iskandar 11-8, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4 (58m)
Saurav Ghosal bt Ong Beng Hee 6-11, 11-7, 11-6, 12-14, 11-9 (88m)

Women’s semi-finals:
Low Wee Wern bt Joey Chan 11-5, 11-5, 11-7 (32m)
Nicol David bt Annie Au 4-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 (44m)
Joshana Chinappa bt Park Eun Ok 11-6, 13-11, 11-8 (34m)
Dipika Pallikal bt Song Sun-Mi 11-4, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5 (37m)
[1] MALAYSIA bt [3] INDIA 2/0
Delia Arnold bt Anaka Alankamony 11-9, 12-10, 11-2 (43m)
Nicol David bt Dipika Pallikal 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (29m)

Pictures courtesy of WSF 


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