Anaka bags U-19 Asian Junior Squash title

Amman: Anaka Alankamony defeated top seeded Tsz Wing Tong from Hong Kong in a thrilling five games to win the girls under-19 title at the Asian Junior Squash Championships here in Amman, Jordan. While Ramit Tandon in the boys’ under-19 and Saumya Karki in the girls under-17 fell at the final hurdle.

Anaka avenged her defeat of the Asian Team Championships earlier this year to notch up her maiden victory against the tournament favourite Tsz Wing Tong. Anaka was unable to handle the excessive bounce and speed of the ball throughout the match as Tong kept the ball hard and low consistently. The first game was quickly won by Tong 11-6. Anaka started off well in the second game slowing down the pace by playing a few drops, gaining a small lead, Tong made it easier for Anaka hitting her boasts into the tin. Anaka won the second game 11-8.

A very close game in the third with both players having their chances, Tong won it 12-10 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Anaka played defensive and things did not look right, but at crucial points in both the fourth and fifth games Anaka held her nerves and did not make single error to win both games 11-7 and lift the Asian title once again for India following her contemporaries Joshana Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal.  

“16-year-old Anaka, who is eligible to play the under-17 category, was determined to play and win the under-19 title. It is a remarkable achievement, we have work hard towards achieving this goal.” said national coach Cyrus Poncha.

Anaka naturally elated with this victory could not hold her emotions back and thanked her parents, all coaches at the Indian Squash Academy, the Squash Rackets Federation of India for all its support, the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, her equipment sponsors Harrow and clothing sponsors Nike.

Next on court, Ramit Tandon looked like making it a double for the Indians. Showing his superior racket skills and control, Ramit played near perfect squash to win the first game 11-9 and take a 7-2 lead. It seemed to be a one sided affair, but Danish kept the ball in play and picked up the pace win 9 straight points and with it the match thereafter. Ramit was unable to get back into the match going down 11-9, 7-11, 4-11, 5-11.

Earlier, Saumya Karki went down fighting to top seeded Ho Ka Po in 4 games. The first was crucial for Saumya going down 17-15. Although she then won the second game, Ho Ka Po was in lethal form winning the match 17-15, 10-12, 11-5, 11-3.  

It was a successful tour for the Indian contingent who will return home with one gold, two silver, five bronze medals.