Mumbai, Sep 20 (UNI) Defending women's champion Mandy Kennedy of England and India No. 1 Joshna Chinappa of Chennai will be the star attractions in the 32nd Bombay Gymkhana Maharashtra State Open Squash Championship to be held here from September 23 to 28.
The tourney co-sponsored by HSBC and Sapat, will see third seed Rachita Vora, No 4 Rhea Bhandare and Madraswala siblings, Shaheda and Shaheen challenging top seed Chinappa and No. 2 Kennedy in the Women's category.
Among the leading players in the country to feature in the Men's Open are Navy's Vikas Jangra and his cousin Sandeep Jangra, Amjad Khan of Delhi, Mumbai's Dhiraj Nagpal and Cyrus Vakil.
However, a bit of sheen has been taken away from the tourney with the absence of the top men's players with Sourav Ghosal and Ritwik Bhattacharya playing in England while the India number three Gaurav Nandgoraj preferring to play in Chennai which is hosting a satellite tourney at the same time.
Adding foreign flavour to the tournament, which has attracted a record 860 entries, will be coach Temo Gomez of Mexico who will be the favourite in the Professionals category, while Bombay Gymkhana's Shivangi Paranjpe will be the favourite in the girls' under-19 and under-17 as the top seed.
The feature of this year's edition is the winners' purse that has been doubled, to Rs. 1 lakh in the Men's Open and Rs. 30,000 in the Women's category.
The other categories include, Boys and Girls under-19, -17, -15, -13, -11, -9, Professionals, Over-35, Over-45 and Over-55.
All matches will be played over best-of-five games on a 9-point scoring system.
There also will be plenty of action that promises close encounters amongst the hugely talented pool of juniors which will see Kunj Rawani, Yohan Pandole, Yohan Surti, Rahil Fazelbhoy, Ishaan Advani, Abhishek Pradhan, Mahesh Mangoankar and a huge contingent from Daly College, Indore, and the Delhi Squash Academy among the boys.
The leading girls will be Ankita Sharma, Dheeya Somaiya, Sachika Balvani and Saumya Karki.
Being hosted and organised by the Bombay Gymkhana, the championship is being held under the aegis of the Squash Rackets Federation of India and the Squash Rackets Association of Maharashtra.
SEEDINGS: Men's Open: 1. Vikas Jangra, 2. Sandeep Jangra, 3. Laxman Joshi, 4. Amjad Khan.
Women: 1. Joshna Chinappa, 2. Mandy Kennedy, 3. Rachita Vora, 4.
Boys' U-19: 1. Laxman Joshi, 2. Cyrus Vakil, 3. Gunraj Singh, 4.
Girls' U-19: 1. Shivangi Paranjpe, 2. Swati Muchhal, 3. Urvashi Mishra, 4. Namrata Purohit.
Professionals: 1. Sanjay Pawar, 2. Rohit More, 3. Sachin Jadhav, 4.