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Asian Team Championships: India secure first ever men’s title, Hong Kong, China, upset favourites

In a dramatic final day in Cheongju, South Korea, India and Hong Kong, China, became the new Asian team champions after wins in the men’s and women’s final, respectively.

In the men’s final, top seeds India went into the match hunting a first ever title in the men’s event after near misses in 2021 and 2012. Facing them was a Kuwait team who had turned expectations on their head, with the No.8 seeds – who finished second in their group after surprising No.4 seeds Qatar and No.5 seeds Pakistan, as well as recording narrow victories over Korea and Chinese Taipei – having shocked No.3 seeds Hong Kong, China, 2-1 in the semi-final.

India, who had already beaten Kuwait 3-0 in the group stage and saw off No.2 seeds Malaysia in the semi-final, proved too strong again in the final. Ramit Tandon, who looks to be back in form after recovering from an injury that curtailed his Commonwealth Games, got the better of Ali Ramezi  11-5, 11-7, 11-4, while Saurav Ghosal overcame Ammar Altamimi 11-9, 11-2, 11-3.

“It’s a very proud day for Indian squash for us to get the win today,” Ghosal said afterwards. “This is India’s first ever gold medal in the men’s event; we’ve come close in the past but unfortunately hadn’t gotten over the line, so it’s good to finally win it for India.

“I think it’s testament to the depth we have in Indian squash today. We’ve been working towards this over the last decade or so and we’ve done well to pull through today and win. I think the match against Malaysia yesterday was really very tight and it was really good that we managed to win that match and beat Kuwait today, who have had a fantastic tournament all week in their own right. It’s brilliant for the team and for Indian squash.

“All in all, it’s a happy day for me personally, the team and for Indian squash overall!”

In the women’s final, No.2 seeds Hong Kong, China, capped a perfect tournament as they upset pre-tournament favourites and defending champions Malaysia to secure their fourth title.

World No.34 Chan Sin Yuk got the 2018 champions off to a perfect start when she battled back from 1-0 down to beat World No.28 Rachel Arnold 3-1, before Malaysia’s World No.24 Aifa Azman struck back with a nerve-shredding 3-2 against World No.36 Tomato Ho, with the 20-year-old edging the final game 12-10.

In the decider, World No.46 Lee Ka Yi was better able to hold her nerve, with the 28-year-old securing an 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 win over 18-year-old World No.86 Yee Xin-Ying to win the title and avenge her team’s defeat in last year’s final.

Afterwards, Chan said: “I feel great about the win. We know that the Malaysian team and ourselves are close. Each match is crucial so I was excited when I got the win. That being said, I was far from relieved because Tomato’s match was also going neck to neck.

“She lost in five unfortunately but Kayi managed the pressure well and got the second win for us. I think we all played well in this event and I’m glad we achieved our goal, to win.

“We are celebrating for the win tonight with our coaches, physio and technician who have been working days and nights throughout the week to help us best prepare for matches!”

Lee added: ” It’s good to see the improvement in our team [and we’re] really glad to have won the Asian Team Championship this time as we lost to Malaysia last year.

“I am satisfied with my performance this week, pretty consistent. My teammates performed well throughout the whole tournament, especially in the final. They fought hard against higher ranked players and the matches were close!”

Results: 21st Asian Team Squash Championships 

Women’s Final
[2] Hong Kong, China 2-1 [1] Malaysia
Sin Yuk Chan beat Rachel Arnold 3-1: 8-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-9
Tomato Ho lost to Aifa Azman 2-3: 5-11, 11-7, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12
Ka Yi Lee beat Yee Xin-Ying 3-0: 11-8, 11-5, 11-5

Men’s Final
[1] India 2-0 [8] Kuwait
Ramit Tandon beat Ali Ramezi 3-0: 11-5, 11-7, 11-4
Saurav Ghosal beat Ammar Altamimi 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 11-3
Abhay Singh v Falah Mohammad: match withdrawn

To find out more and for the full results, head to asiansquash.org

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