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Saurav Ghosal wins historic bronze in men’s singles squash

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Saurav Ghosal won bronze in the men’s singles squash event at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, beating defending champion James Willstrop of England 3-0 (11-6, 11-1, 11-4). It was India’s first-ever singles medal in squash at the Commonwealth Games.

Ghosal had won a silver medal in mixed doubles with Dipika Pallikal at the 2018 CWG in Gold Coast.

Immediately after the victory, he pumped up his arms in celebration, before dropping to his knees in tears as the realization of his own personal success and the piece of history he had created sank. He also kissed Willstrop, with whom he has a close personal relationship. relationship; he trained with Willstrop and was coached for about 15 years by his father Malcolm. Later, he dedicated the gold medal to Malcolm as well as his grandparents.

Speaking to the media, Ghosal called it a “historic day for Indian squash”, made even more special by the caliber of his opponent. “I’m so happy that after all these years I managed to pull through,” he said, referring to past singles disappointments at CWG – he finished fourth in 2014.

Ghosal (35) has a plethora of medals at the Asian level, winning one gold, silver and three bronze across multiple singles and team editions. Now a veteran on the circuit, his simple upsets in the second round of the 2018 CWG prompted a change in his approach that yielded success soon after. In April 2019, he became the first Indian men’s squash player to break into the top 10 of the PSA rankings and, three weeks later, the first Indian to win the Asian Championship title.

Ghosal started to favor the forehand side which earned him five straight points as he took a 6-2 lead in the opener. Former world No. 1 Willstrop struggled with his movement as the Indian’s coverage caused the defending champion a lot of problems with Ghosal going on to close the game 11-6.

He started the second game in dominant fashion, taking a 5-0 lead, with Willstrop continuing to manage Ghosal’s drop shots. The Englishman picked up a lone point in game two as Ghosal slipped away to finish it 11-1.

Game 3 was fairly even to start with Willstrop taking advantage of a few close calls to trail 3-5. This only served to motivate Ghosal, who won the next four points to go ahead 9-3. Stretching every tendon in his body, Ghosal hit a diving shot from Willstrop on the next point to make it 10-3. Willstrop managed to win the next point, but Ghosal’s excellent shot across the pitch proved too much for the Englishman, earning Ghosal the win.

When asked what the next step in his schedule was, he said mixed doubles, which starts on Thursday and where he is paired with Pallikal. “I hope we can go all the way and win gold for India,” he said.

Earlier, Ghosal opened his men’s singles campaign against Sri Lanka’s Shamil Wakeel beating him 3-0 (11-4, 11-4, 11-6). He followed that up with a round of 16 win over Canada’s David Baillargeon, also beating him 3-0 (11-6, 11-2, 11-6).

Scotland’s Greg Lobban pushed Ghosal in the quarter-finals, splitting the first two games 1-1, before the Indian triumphed 3-1 (11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 11-3 ). He faced the daunting prospect of world number 2 Paul Coll of New Zealand in the semi-finals. It turned out to be a bridge too far for Ghosal, who was comfortably second best in the semis, losing 0-3 (9-11, 4-11, 1-11).

Sources

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2/ https://www.espn.com/commonwealth-games/story/_/id/34341654/cwg-2022-india-day-6-saurav-ghosal-wins-historic-bronze-mens-singles-squash

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