KEEPING PACE with the younger counterparts, Chandigarh squash players Saurabh Nayar, Vikas Nayar and Ajay Manchanda did the Tricity proud by winning the silver medal, bronze medal and plate winner in their respective age categories in the Asian Masters Squash Championship played at Dalian, China, last week. Saurabh Nayar clinched the silver medal in the 25-39 years age category while his brother Vikas Nayar finished with a bronze medal in the 40-44 years age category in the Asian event. Manchanda emerged as the winner in the plate group as the three players from Chandigarh were part of the nine-member team.
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“It was a tough outing for us as the conditions in China were a bit cold as compared to India. Top players from more than 10 countries participated in my category and my final match against the Chinese player was a close match. I am happy with the silver medal and competing in tournaments like these helps our game a lot. I am now eyeing a good performance in the Indian Masters Championships,” said 39-year-old Saurabh Nayar, who runs a garment business in Chandigarh and whose son Ishaan Nayar is also a national-level squash player.
Saurabh had earlier won a bronze medal in the Asian Masters Championship in Lahore in 2012 and and reached the quarters in World Masters Squash Championship in 2014. He was seeded third for this year’s World Squash Masters in Johannesburg but pulled out of the tournament due to a death in the family.
For 54-year-old Chandigarh player Manchanda, it was a first title in the plate category as Manchanda ended the challenge of a Chinese player in the finals in the 50-54 years age category in the plate group. Manchanda had earlier won a bronze medal in Asian Masters Championship in Lahore in 2012 and had also reached the third round in the World Masters Squash Championship in Hong Kong in 2014 before reaching the second round in the same championship this year.
“Playing at the Asian level is always a challenge as most of the top players in the world come from Asia. Competing against players from countries like Pakistan, Malaysia,Thailand and China and winning boosts our confidence. It was a close final in the plate group and this medal will also give me confidence for the nationals ahead,” said Manchanda, who works as administrator with a local school management.
Nayar, who also runs the Chandigarh Squash Academy with younger brother Saurabh, claimed the bronze medal in 40-44 age category in China. Vikas earlier had lost in the quarters in the Asian event in Lahore in 2012 but returned with medal this time. “It was a close event in China and this medal has ended the disappointment of missing a medal in Lahore in 2012. Moving in age categories is always a challenge for us and I am eager to win the national title in 40-44 years category,” he said.