June 21, 2024

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The Indian squash contingent began its Asian Games campaign with comfortable victories over Singapore and Pakistan, respectively, in the men’s and women’s team competitions on Tuesday. The women’s team comprising 15-year-old Anahat Singh, veteran Joshna Chinappa and Tanvi Khanna blanked Pakistan 3-0 in its opening Pool B match. The first singles saw Asian Games debutant Anahat getting past Sadia Gul 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 in 16 minutes. Joshna, playing the first match of her sixth Asian Games, took 13 minutes to beat Noor Ul Huda Sadiq 11-2, 11-5, 11-7.

India, silver medallists in the previous edition, completed their dominance when Tanvi thrashed Noor Ul Ain Ijaz 11-3, 11-6, 11-2.

Top two teams in Pool A and Pool B progress to the semifinals.

Third seeds India are paired in Pool B alongside Malaysia, Macau, China, Pakistan and Nepal.

In the men’s event, top seeds India outplayed Singapore 3-0.

Harinder Pal Sandhu, back to playing singles after a long injury lay-off, had to fight hard for a 11-4, 13-11, 8-11, 7-11 win over Jerome Clement in the opening singles.

India’s highest ranked player Saurav Ghosal, who like Joshna is competing in his sixth Asian Games, was tested in the first game by Samuel Kang before prevailing 11-9, 11-1, 11-4 in 37 minutes.

Abhay Singh took care of Marcus Phua in straight games 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 to ensure a comfortable win for India, who face Qatar later on Tuesday.

The others in India’s group include Pakistan, Kuwait and Nepal.

Ghosal led team had finished with a bronze in the previous edition.

Having won the gold back in 2014, the team is targeting the top of the podium here.

On Wednesday, the men will face Pakistan in a Pool A game. The clash should be more competitive than the one-side contest in the women’s competition.

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