Rising sensation Anahat Singh’s heartwarming triumph last year at the prestigious British Junior Open Squash tournament (girls’ under-11 category) in Birmingham was significant for a number of reasons that are bound to have a salutary effect on the 11-year-old squash player’s fledgling career. And yet, she cruised into the final of the tournament in the girls’ under-13 category this year too, becoming the lone Indian to do so.
Her counterpart Veer Chotrani also looks destined to slide into the finals in his under-19 age category, in what will be decided after a semi-final clash slated for late tonight. In the semi-final game held in Birmingham on Sunday, the petite stunned Janna Galal of Egypt in a five-game thriller.
Having conceded the first game to a formidable Egyptian side, Anahat from there turned on the heat on its rival never to look back before eventually pushing the match into a decider. The excitement soon reached a crescendo in the decider with Janna racing to a 7-1 lead and then Anahat catching up and saving four match balls.
Second-seed Janna did not sit back but intensified the attack and in turn, found herself on three match balls situations. But the Indian hardly put a foot wrong in the entire gamut of the game as she outsmarted the Egyptian 7-11, 11-7, 13-11, 5-11, 17-15. She now faces another Egyptian, the top seed Amina Orfi, in the summit clash on Monday.
“Absolutely delighted with Anahat reaching the final. Her transition from U-11 to U-13 has been extraordinary. We are very proud of her achievement,” said SRFI secretary-general Cyrus Poncha.
Last year, she became the youngest and sixth Indian to win a title in the second most popular squash championship after Saurav Ghosal (boys U-19 in 2004), Mahesh Mangaonkar (boys U-15 in 2009), Velavan Senthilkumar (boys U-19 in 2017), Joshana Chinappa (girls U-17 in 2003 & U-19 in 2005) and Dipika Pallikal (girls U-17 in 2008).