Sourav to lead Indian challenge in Intl Squash meet

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Kolkata, Feb 04 (UNI) National champion Saurav Ghosal will lead the Indian challenge in the Kolkata International Squash, which had drawn a host of prominent international names.

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) three-star event has world No 16 Mohammad Azlan Iskandar of Malaysia who is the top seed and would be played here at the 215-year-old Calcutta Racket Club from Tuesday.

The four-day event, which returned after a break of one year, had seven players from the top-50 of the world rankings.

Iskander's compatriot Ong Beng Hee, currently ranked 18 in the world, was seeded second, while Omar Mosaad of Egypt (ranked 27) and Pakistan's Aamir Atlas Khan (31) and Mansoor Zaman (35) came next in the order.

The Indian hopes rested on 21-year-old Ghosal having the fifth best ranking in the tournament (at 49) after Omar Abdel Aziz of Egypt (41).

There are two more Indians in the main draw -- Ritwik Bhattacharya and Siddharth Suchde.

The former, a world No 63, the first Indian to make a mark internationally with seven PSA titles to his credit, was also being weighed seriously for his experience.

Bhattacharya has a big test at the very start running into 18-year-old Atlas Khan in the first round. Khan beat both Beng Hee and Iskander on the way to win the CAS International in Islamabad last year.

Suchede, who had received a wildcard after winning a PSA super satellite event in Saint Louis (USA) last month, made the Indian participation stronger.

Gaurav Nandrajog became the fourth Indian to make it into the main draw after he beat Jonas Laursen (Den) in the qualifiers on Monday evening.

The results (qualifying finals):- Mohd El Shorbagy (Egy) bt Naresh Kumar (Ind) 11-10 (2-0), 11-2, 11-9; Jethro Binns (Wales) bt Mohamed Elkeiy (Egy) 11-5, 11-5, 11-7; Gaurav Nandrajog (Ind) bt Jonas Laursen (Den) 11-5, 11-3, 11-7; Rob Sutherland (Wal) bt Lukas Jelinek (Cze) 11-7, 11-9, 11-2.

UNI BA SJC AB RR KP2147

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