New Delhi: India’s leading squash players Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal have been seeded fourth and sixth respectively for the singles competition at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games beginning July 23.
The seeds for the five categories — men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles — were announced by the World Squash Federation yesterday.
India has a good chance of winning its first squash medal at the Commonwealth Games in the presence of 10th-ranked Pallikal, World No.16 Ghosal and another experience player Joshana Chinappa, who is number 21 in the latest WSA rankings.
Pallikal, the only Indian to break into the top-10, is set to make her Games debut.
India’s best bet for a medal is in the doubles competition. The mixed doubles pair of Ghosal and Pallikal has already shown promise by winning the Tri-Nation title in Malaysia last month. Pallikal also won the doubles crown in Kuala Lumpur alongside Chinappa, defeating fancied Malaysian duo of singles World No.1 Nicol David and Low Wee Wern enroute to the final.
Pallikal and Ghosal have been seeded fifth in the mixed doubles, as well as the Pallikal-Chinappa combine in the women’s doubles.
Ghosal will partner Harinder Pal Sandhu in the men’s doubles and they have been seeded seventh.
England’s Nick Matthew is expected to repeat his double gold success in Scotland.
The reigning and three-time World Champion from Sheffield struck gold in the men’s singles and men’s doubles in Delhi in 2010 – and is predicted to repeat his success with Londoner Adrian Grant in the doubles and become the first man to retain his singles title.
Matthew, ranked two in the world, is currently working through an intensive rehabilitation programme following minor surgery on his right knee last week to repair a small tear in the meniscus.
The singles seedings predict a repeat of the all-English men’s final between Matthew and fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop, the World No.6 from Harrogate – whilst the men’s doubles seedings forecast the fifth successive England/Australia climax since the sport’s Commonwealth Games debut in Malaysia in 1998.
Malaysian legend David will also be celebrating a fifth Games appearance in Glasgow, where she is seeded to retain her women’s singles gold. The 30-year-old from Penang, who has topped the world rankings since August 2006, is expected to face English rival Laura Massaro, the World No.2 from Preston, in the final.
The singles events take place at the Scotstoun Sports Campus from July 24-28, followed by women’s, men’s and mixed doubles from July 29 to August 3.
Top 8 seeds (singles):
Men’s Singles : 1 Nick Matthew (ENG), 2 James Willstrop (ENG), 3 Peter Barker (ENG), 4 Saurav Ghosal (IND), 5 Cameron Pilley (AUS), 6 Alister Walker (BOT), 7 Chris Simpson (GGY), 8 Ong Beng Hee (MAS).
Women’s Singles:, 1 Nicol David (MAS), 2 Laura Massaro (ENG), 3 Joelle King (NZL), 4 Alison Waters (ENG), 5 Low Wee Wern (MAS), 6 Dipika Pallikal (IND), 7 Madeline Perry (NIR) 8 Jenny Duncalf (ENG).