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Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Sep 11 (UNI) Joshna Chinappa may just have added a sixth national title to her overflowing cupboard but she hardly has time to bask in glory as her newly-appointed Egyptian coach Mohammad Medhat has set the Chennai lass the twin targets of reaching Asian Games semi-finals in December and breaking into the top 20 in the next two years.

''As of now, the Asian Games in December tops her priority list and reaching the semi-finals in Doha will remain her target.

But, taking a long-run view, she must be eying to break into the league of top 20 players. She is ranked 54th now and that would naturally require a lot of hard work and planning, but she can make it,'' Mr Medhat told UNI here.

Himself a player with nearly a decade-long career that saw him reaching the 54th rank in 1999, Mr Medhat believes the lithe and lissome Joshna has the perfect built for a squash player but there are a few rooms for improvement as well.

''She has the perfect physique for a squash player, for she is tall and slim both. But, I think she has to move even faster to dominate the T, learn to bend more and still not injure herself, master some tricky shots.

''She will be spending five-six months in Egypt, playing with the top players of the renowned clubs there. Egypt is the ideal place for her and we expect her to improve a lot,'' he explained.

Joshna plays in a Jaipur tournament now before returning to Chennai for some more training before she flies to USA for a three-week stint that includes competing in three tournaments there.

''Now that I have a full-time traveling coach, I think I would improve more. Mr Medhat is quite known in the circuit and he worked with both the players who won the under-15 boys and girls champions at the British Open,'' Joshna told UNI.

Apart from the technical finetuning, Joshna, the great granddaughter of Field Marshall KM Cariappa, insists that she was getting stronger in the mental aspect of the game as well.

''I think I'm improving there as well. Squash is physical chess, a thinking person's game. It's more so in crunch situations, when your experience and reasoning bail you out.

And I have age on my side as well.

''Of course there are players like (Malaysia's) Nicol David who became world champion at 22. But generally, a squash player peaks at 24-26 and that means I still have some time,'' added the SAF Games gold medallist, who turns 20 on Friday.

UNI AY PDS VP1150

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