Hong Kong: Top seed India moved into the final in the boys' section of the Asian junior team squash championship with a hard earned 2-0 win over host Hong Kong on Saturday. In the title-match India will take on the second seed Malaysia which beat Pakistan 2-1.
National coach Cyrus Poncha who is with the team, said two things enabled India to come out clean. First Ranjit Singh showed the resilience and strength to put India up and when it seemed Velavan Sethilkumar would make it a win in style, things turned awry. But Velavan regained touch in time.
Ranjit gladdened with this fine show, he said. Though he lost a touch sharpness in the second game which he lost, the Indian showed good control over strokes to give this country a winning start. However Lai Cheuk Nam proved a tricky customer for Velavan. The Indian realised it early when down 8-10, he had to fight back to win that first game on extra points. But a similar fight did not help in the second which the Hong Kong lad bagged.. The Indian showed a winsome touch in the third game but once again slipped in the fourth to force the issue to the deciding fifth game. As it happened, Velavan was quick off the block, so to say, and handy leads early helped him to close it out in comfort and give India the winning margin.
In the girls section, India fighting for a place in the 5-9 positions, went down to Korea. After Sanya Vats had given India good start, Aishwarya kept hopes high but the swinging fortunes in the five-game tussle finally went in favour of the Korean. In the deciding third match, Vedika Arun could not cope with the pressure.
Boys: semi-final: India bt Hong Kong 2-1 (Ranjit Singh bt Chan Chi Ho 11-4, 5-11, 11-8, 11-6; Velavan Senthilkumar bt Lai Cheuk Nam 13-11, 11-13, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5)
Girls: Places 5-9: Korea bt India 2-1 (Chae Won Song lost to Sanya Vats 6-11, 9-11, 4-11; Hyoju Seo bt Aishwarya Bhattacharya 11-9, 8-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-8; Dong Ju Song bt Vedika Arun 11-9, 11-8, 11-6)