July 24, 2024

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Joshna Chinnapa feels the quality of squash in the continent has improved in the past few years and the Indian is hoping to capitalise on her knowledge and experience to best her opponents at the upcoming Asian Games. The 36-year-old, who won the bronze medal in women’s singles and a silver in the team event in the last edition, will be competing only in the individual competition at the Asian Games, starting in Hangzhou on September 23.

Despite eight-time world champion Nicol David of Malaysia not competing anymore, Joshna feels the Games won’t be easy.

“Nicole did dominate for a long time. But the quality of Asian squash has gone up in the last few years, and it’s going to be hard right from Round 1. You can’t take anyone for granted,” she said during a media interaction at the Indian Squash Academy here on Thursday.

“It’s obviously not easy playing at this level. But I also possess quite some knowledge and experience. And hopefully, I can count on that at the Games.

“At this stage, I am ready to play anyone, as at this level, you have to be prepared to take on anyone. I will take it one day at a time,” she continued.

With squash not featuring in the Olympic roster, Joshna stated that it is always special for her to win medals at the Asian Games especially since she is representing India at the highest level.

“Playing for India has always been the highlight of my career, and it’s always something that I look forward to. It’s, honestly, what has prolonged my career for so long.” “Playing at these Games is always special since it happens every four years and it’s very prestigious. The participating sides are at the top of their game. So, it’s special to win a medal at these Games.” The Asian Games-bound squash players are having a camp in the city before their departure to China, where they are also being trained by former world champion Gregory Gaultier and James Willstrop.

“Some players have worked under him (Greg). and have had great results on the tour. I have had a few sessions with him It’s been good and intense. He’s very good at sharpening up your game before you leave.” Joshna emphasised on the importance of having a support system.

“I have had this career on my own, travelling the world and playing tournaments on my own without a coach or a physio. But, having a support system at tournaments would have been a bigger advantage for me.” “However, I get a great support system while playing for the country, including the coach, manager and the physio. All you need to do is show up and play, which takes a lot of pressure off us.” Joshna also had some injury layoffs lately that took a toll on her rankings.

“I have had a couple of really bad injuries last year that derailed me a bit. But that’s life and a part of the game, and you have to deal with it. Right now, I’m not thinking about the ranking. My full focus is on the Asian Games.”

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