Commonwealth Games 2022: Saurav Ghosal wins bronze, clinches India’s first singles medal in squash

Saurav Ghosal beat three-time CWG medallist James Willstrop of England 3-0 for India's first singles medal in squash at the Games.

By Rahul Venkat
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Indian squash star Saurav Ghosal won an elusive medal in the men’s singles at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, UK on Wednesday.

World No. 15 Saurav Ghosal beat home favourite James Willstrop 3-0 (11-6, 11-1, 11-4) in a memorable victory in the bronze medal playoff at the University of Birmingham Hockey & Squash Centre. This was India's first singles squash medal at the Commonwealth Games.

“I really hope this gets a lot of attention back in India," said Ghosal, who broke into tears after winning the match. "Winning a gold at the Commonwealth Games is hard.

“Today, history was made and I’m really proud of myself. I’ve worked really, really hard for this. It all came together," Ghosal added.

The 35-year-old veteran Indian outplayed Willstrop, the CWG 2018 gold-medallist, in the opening game, stretching every sinew to reach the Englishman’s trademark drops and responding with a few of his own to win the game.

In the second game, the 38-year-old Willstrop, in his bid to get back to parity, took risks which did not come off and Ghosal comfortably took the game.

With the crowd cheering every move of former world No. 1 Willstrop, currently ranked 24, Ghosal showed no pressure as he stuck to his plans in the third game, extending the rallies and maintaining composure to win the match in straight games and fulfil a long-standing dream.

"Winning is great, but 3-0 - I can’t even dream of this. I was just trying to play point by point," Ghosal pointed out.

“It’s definitely the hardest match I have ever had to play. I have played some big matches but, in the context of India never winning a medal before in the individuals, it's massive."

India have now won four medals in squash at the Commonwealth Games. Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa won gold in women’s doubles in 2014 and a silver in 2018. Pallikal also won the mixed doubles silver with Ghosal in the same year.

India's Saurav Ghosal broke into tears after winning the bronze medal squash men's singles match.
Picture by 2022 Getty Images

Meanwhile, the pair of Joshna Chinappa/Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu advanced to the mixed doubles round of 16 after beating Sri Lankan pair Yeheni Kuruppu/Ravindu Laksiri 2-1 (8-11, 11-4, 11-3). They will now face Australia’s Donna Lobban and Cameron Pilley.

Sunayna Kuruvilla won the plate final in the women’s singles after beating Guyana’s Mary Fung-A-Fat 3-0 (11-7, 13-11, 11-2).

Saurav Ghosal will be back in action in squash at CWG 2022 on Thursday, partnering Dipika Pallikal in the mixed doubles while Anahat Singh will partner Sunayna Kuruvilla in the women’s doubles.

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