Indian women are assured of a gold and a silver in the individual competition of the squash event of South Asian Games in Kathmandu on Saturday. At the end of an eventful semi-finals on the squash courts on Saturday, the women’s singles gold will be contested by the two Indians, the top two seeds in fact, Sunayna Kuruvilla and Tanvi Khanna. The final is slated for Sunday.
The men’s section however had a different story. While Harinder Pal Sandhu showed his fighting abilities to down the second seed Pakistan player Farhan Mehboob, Abhay Singh tumbled from a match ball situation to lose to the top seed again a Pakistan player Tayyab Aslam. Both the men’s matches went the distance but with different results. Harinder and Tayab will play the final.
However it was the women who brought up the early cheer.
Sunayna was first to make her appearannce against her Pakistani opponent Faiza Zafar. The start was unexpected as the Indian after being 9-7 slipped to lose it. But from there Sunayna regained her touch and reeled away the next three games to win 7-9, 11-6, 11-0, 11-6.
Tanvi next was up against another Pakistani player Madina Zafar. The contest started on an even note but the Indian was able to grab the first game on extra points. But thereafter it was comfotable sailing. Tanvi won 12-10, 11-6, 11-7, the match getting over in half hour.
Action was lot more pacy and gripping in the men’s section. Farhan and Harinder had met only once earlier in the Asian championship eight years ago. Farhan was a runaway winner then. This time contest proved a lot closer, with each trading a game before Harinder pipping his opponent in the decider to win 9-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 11-7.
If that was to inspire Abhay next, it did because this match too against Tayab went close. However after securing a 2-1 game lead and on a 11-10 match ball situation in the fourth Abhay failed to reach a backhand drop. Tayab needed that little benevolence. He virtually stole the match from there to finally script a 6-11, 11-4, 12-14, 12-10, 11-7 win after a 75-minute grind.