Colts claim bronze

Maiden World Jr Squash C’ship medal for India as Kush, Mahesh down Eng

Published: 19th July 2012 08:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2012 08:38 AM   |  A+A-

Kush Kumar and Mahesh Mangaonkar took India to their maiden World Junior Championship medal, as they respectively exceeded England’s Richie Fallows and Ollie Holland for a bronze in Doha

Rated the most talented junior in the national radar, Kush Kumar gave India the ascendancy in the first match of the three-match rubber.

The youngster from Dhampur, presently based out of the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai, shook off aggressi­vely, settling into a pacy tempo. He permanently secluded him to the back-court and opened up a two-game lead (11-8, 11-8) in little time.

But the game was far from over as the English junior got his act together in the third, taking it 11-9.

A see-saw battle ensued, but Fallows’ confidence grew and he soon served for the ma­tch (10-9). But Fallows er­red to relieve Kush, who also saved another game ball before Kush exacted three points in succession to give fourth-seeded India a 2-0 lead.

Winning the first match bu­oyed India, pointed out nati­onal coach Cyrus Poncha. “Se­cretly, we were hoping for that first leg victory, Kush has come a long way over this past year, and his first game in particular was particularly rema­rkable, he kept the ball in play and played a much tighter game, and on that glass court, attacked as he had to, with Ri­c­hie unable to finish the po­int,” he said.

But England being Engla­nd, they expected them to bounce back. They did, winning the first game of the second match. But India’s top-se­eded junior, Mahesh Mangaonkar was in no such submissive mood to let his count­e­rpart Ollie Holland an easy ride. He pounced back as str­o­ng as he could, taking the second 11-0.

Riding on the decisive mo­m­entum swing, the Indian we­nt on to snap the remaini­ng games and the match to fetch India an unprecedented medal. “He has shown that he could upset the top two playe­rs in the world. Not sure what happened in the first game, he started a bit slow, maybe a bit of relaxation after Kush won the first match.

But from that second game he played world-class squash, although he showed some nerves again in the fourth. But his superior stroke gave him the edge in the end,” observed Cyrus.

Incidentally, this was Ind­ia’s first over England in any event. “We have had great tea­ms in the past — notably our 2004 team with Saurav Gh­osal, Siddharth Suchde, Sahil Vora and Gaurav Nandrajog, then the 2008 team with Vik­ram Malhotra, Aditya Jagtap, Ravi Dixit and Ramit Tandon. But this team has eclipsed them all winning this bronze medal.

It is truly a proud moment for Indian squash,” he said.

Results: Kush Kumar 3-0 Richie Fallows  11/8, 11/8, 9/11, 13/11 (46m), Mahesh Mangaonkar 3-1 Ollie Holland  6/11, 11/0, 11/6, 11/7 (54m).


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