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Rediff.com  » Sports » Veteran Ghosal calls time from professional squash

Veteran Ghosal calls time from professional squash

Source: PTI
April 22, 2024 23:10 IST
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Will continue to play for India in multi disciplinary events

Saurav Ghosal

IMAGE: Saurav Ghosal remains the only Indian to reach the world's top 10, achieving the career-high ranking in April 2019 and spending six months there. Photograph: Kind courtesy PSA World/X

Saurav Ghosal, the tenacious flag bearer of Indian squash for over two decades, on Monday announced his retirement from the professional circuit having etched his name in the annals of the sport's history with some remarkable achievements.

India's finest men's squash player, the 37-year-old Ghosal though would continue to represent the country at multi-discipline events.

 

Besides winning two gold medals in team events of Incheon and Hangzhou Asian Games, Ghosal has three Commonwealth Games medals and also bagged the yellow metal in the 2022 World Doubles Championships in mixed doubles in Glasgow.

"I started my journey on @psaworldtour 22 years ago. At the time, I never thought in my wildest dreams, I would play professional squash for so long. As I travelled across the world, playing on some of the biggest stages our wonderful sport offered, I thought it would never come to an end," Ghosal wrote in a post on his official Instagram handle.

"But, there's always an end point. I am overwhelmed with emotions as I write this message. This sport has been my passion, my livelihood, and my identity for so many years. So, with a heart filled with pride and a tinge of sadness, I announce my retirement from the PSA," he added.

The Kolkata-born Ghosal, who was a prominent part of the golden generation of Indian squash along with Dipika Pallikal Karthik and Joshna Chinappa, also remains the only man from the country to reach the world's top 10, achieving the career-high ranking in April 2019 and spending six months there.

Since making his PSA debut in 2003, Ghosal has lifted 10 PSA titles, reaching 18 finals, while he won 281 of his 511 matches on the Tour.

Ghosal also holds a record of 13 Indian Nationals title wins, with the last of those coming in 2020.

Ghosal, however, isn't completely done with the sport and hopes to represent India for some more years.

"Finally, I hope this is not me saying goodbye altogether from competitive squash. I would like to play for India a little while longer. Hopefully, there's some fight left in me, and I can achieve a bit more for my country. Till then, THANK YOU!"

Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal won the bronze

IMAGE: Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal won the bronze at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images from the Rediff Archives 

Ghosal thus raises hopes of him fulfilling his long-cherished dream of playing in the Olympics with squash making its debut at the 2028 Los Angeles edition. Ghosal will be 41 by then, but if he chooses to play doubles and can produce results at the Asian and Commonwealth Games in 2026, he might as well take part in the world's biggest sporting spectacle.

Ghosal said the game has not only given him an identity but also shaped him as a human being.

"These past 2 decades have shaped me as a person and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had. I hope I have conducted myself with dignity and played the sport 'the right way'.

"Nothing would have been possible without the support of my dear grandparents, my father, my beloved wife, and the rest of my cherished family.

"They have moulded me into the person I am today. My journey would have been incomplete without the wisdom and mentorship of Malcolm Willstrop, Damon Brown, David Palmer, James Willstrop, Dr. Sheryl Calder, Gayatri Madkekar, Krushmi Chheda and the countless coaches who guided me along the way.

"Gratitude fills my soul as I acknowledge the Sports Ministry of India, SDAT & SRFI, and Baseline for their steadfast backing throughout the years."

Ghosal's final -- and joint biggest -- PSA title came at the Malaysian Open Squash Championships in November 2021, where he defeated Colombian top seed Miguel Rodriguez in the final.

"To all my fans, you have kept me going through the good and bad times. I can't thank you enough for the love you've shown me along the way. A big thank you to all the players I have had the privilege of sharing the court with.

"I will always cherish the respect I received from each and every one of you. You have been my family for so long, and I will miss you all!," he wrote.

His final appearance on the PSA Tour came at the 2024 Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family where he lost to USA's Timothy Brownell in the last 64.

He also teamed up with compatriot Dipika Pallikal Karthik to win a gold medal for India in the mixed event at the 2022 WSF World Doubles Squash Championships, while he also claimed gold at the Asian Individual Championships in Malaysia five years ago.

Under the tutelage of Major Maniam and Cyrus Poncha, Ghosal honed his skills in his early days in the sport, paving the way for a glorious career.

In 2004, he scripted history by becoming the first Indian to clinch the British Junior Open Under-19 Squash title. He has not looked back after that.

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