India started off well in squash individual events as both the men and women assured themselves of a medal during the South Asian Games in Kathmandu on Friday.
The women’s singles set the tone for the day for India with top seed Sunayna Kuruvilla coming on first to swiftly set aside the challenge of Fathoum I Issadeen of Sri Lanka 11-5, 11-7, 11-4.
With eight players in the draw, the very first match happened to be a quarter-final and Sunayna thus made it to the last four. Except for the second game where she trailed 1-4 at one stage to bounce back smartly, the Chennai girl hardly worked up sweat.
Soon after second seed Tanvi Khanna joined her in the success march by beating her Nepalese opponent Bipana Bhlon comfortably at 11-2 11-3, 11-5 to make it a bright start for India in the forenoon. Both these players having moved into the last four are now assured of a medal each.
Later in the day in the men’s section, Abhay Singh and Harinder Pal Sandhu after a bye in the first round, got past their respective opponents to move into the last four.
Seeded four, Abhay defeated Ravindu HL Holiptige of Sri Lanka 11-6, 13-11 11-4. Usually a steady player, Abhay let things slip a little with over-elaboration in the second game that went to extra points.
But at no stage did he look worried. Third seed Harinder Pal on the other hand breezed past Mohomed S Wakeel, also of Sri Lanka 11-2, 11-7, 11-7, the match ending in less than half hour. Like the women earlier, both Abhay and Harinder are now in line for a medal each.
Players from five countries are in the fray in the men’s section - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal and four in the women’s - India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. Tayyab Aslam and Mehboob Farhan, both from Pakistan are the top two seeds in the men’s section.