Sun, sea, sand and squash for Asian Beach Games in Thailand
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Reporter with the beach shorts, shades and cocktails
Harinder Pal Sandhu of India and Liu Tsz-Ling from Hong Kong claimed the gold medals in the inaugural Squash championships in the Asian Beach Games, which were staged on a spectacular all-glass showcourt erected on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand.
With entries from China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Philippines, Pakistan, Thailand, Iran and Qatar, Squash was making its debut in the fourth edition of the Asian Beach Games which featured 26 disciplines. Matches were played to a special seven-point, best-of-three-game format, taking place after sunset.
Top seed Sandhu, the recently-crowned Indian champion, was fully stretched in the men’s gold medal match, ultimately beating Hong Kong’s second seed Tsz Fung Yip 7-2, 5-7, 7-3.
The women’s event climaxed in an all-Hong Kong final, with No2 seed Liu Tsz-Ling upsetting favourite Tong Tsz-Wing 7-2, 7-0 to take gold.
After his gold medal triumph, Sandhu (pictured above with women’s gold medallist Liu Tsz-Ling) said: “This is a superb tournament and am proud to win a gold medal for my country. It has been a memorable week – I was honoured when I was selected by the IOA to carry the Indian flag at the opening ceremony and now I am going home with a gold medal.
“The setting-up of the squash court at the beach is special and I loved playing here.”
World Squash Federation President N Ramachandran was delighted with the sport’s debut in the Games: “WSF is pleased to have squash included as a medal sport at the 4th Asian Beach Games. We are very grateful to OCA & ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and H.E. Kanokphand Chulakasem, Governor of Sports Authority of Thailand, whose vision has made our inclusion possible.
“The site selected was picturesque and truly showed that our sport can be played anywhere. ASB has supported the event greatly by providing an ASB ShowGlassCourt on the beach, which looked fantastic.
“I personally wish to thank ASF President David Mui, ASB, WSF and all member nations of ASF who have supported this inaugural event.”