After enduring a disappointing Commonwealth Games (CWG) singles campaign, India’s top-ranked squash player Saurav Ghosal feels he has recovered from the setback and is ready to put his best foot forward at the upcoming Asian Games.
Ghosal suffered a shock ouster from the second round in singles at Gold Coast earlier this year.
Although he made amends by winning his first CWG medal, a silver in mixed doubles with Dipika Pallikal, it was some controversial refereeing in the final that left both the players high and dry.
“Over the summer I have done a few things which are new to my game. I have gone to David Palmer (coach). So it’s helping me stay invested,” Ghosal told IANS in an interview.
“It’s like a mini-challenge whenever I go on to court, trying to execute stuff I am working on. So I am happy with my enthusiasm now, and if I can do that then I think it puts me in a good position to win matches. That’s what you really want to do,” he said.
The Asian Games gold has always eluded Ghosal. He came close to winning it in the previous three editions of the quadrennial event but had to eventually settle for bronze at the 2006 Doha and 2010 Guangzhou Games.
Ghosal’s best chance was at the Incheon Games four years back. In the end, he settled for a historic silver.
In the men’s team event in 2014, Ghosal led India to gold.
“I have done what I have done in the last three Asian games and that is always going to stay with me. There is a lot to be proud of,” said Ghosal who reached a career-high world ranking of World No. 14 in February this year.
About the team’s chances, Ghosal said there are a lot of in-form players in the ranks and that should hold India in good stead.
“Winning the team title last time was not easy but we won it. Defending it is also not going to be easy.
“We have a strong team, but I don’t think we are going to be seeded No. 1. We are probably going to be seeded 2 or 3. Hong Kong will be seeded one. All the players in our team right now are really strong but it’s a question of them showing up in that week and playing to their potential.”
Ghosal, who celebrated his 32nd birthday recently, is not sure whether this would be his last Asian Games or not, but added laying a hand on the yellow metal has been the aim since the 2010 Asian Games.
“Of course I want to win the gold. Especially in the last two (Games), 2010 and 2014… that was the aim with which I went in.
“It’s no different this time around. I think I need to focus on the things I want to do and the way I want to do them. I need to take care of the process and the end result will take care of itself.”
After the personal low at the CWG, Ghosal has now decided to not just focus on doing well at the Asian Games but also for the rest of the season on the Tour.
“I think I can have a good crack at the PSA season moving forward. So I am quite excited about doing that as well. Hopefully, the results will come with the level of performance I think I can produce,” Ghosal signed off on way to Chennai.
The Indian team is to assemble in Chennai for a small camp before leaving for Indonesia which is hosting the continental games in Jakarta and Palembang.
Men: Saurav Ghosal, Harinder Pal Sandhu, Ramit Tandon and Mahesh Mangaonkar