When it comes to squash, Calcutta boy Saurav Ghosal takes the cake for having a long list of firsts to his name. Earlier this week, the squash star moved to number 13 in the world, with only two days left before the Commonwealth Games to begin.
Ghosal made a mark for himself, for the first time, in 2004 when he became the first Indian ever to win the highly coveted British Junior Open Under-19 Squash title, following which, he also became the first Indian to become the world number one.
“It was a dream come true and what made it special was that I played really good squash in that event. Reaching the pinnacle of junior squash was a validation of my belief in myself. It gave me the confidence to aim higher and dream towards replicating the same at the professional level,” Saurav told The Bridge.
Since 2006, Saurav has brought home a medal every time at the Asian Games, and this year, looking in really good shape, he is hopeful about the 2018 season and is eager to make a change in the medals tally at the Commonwealth Games.
“I would love to win a few Gold medals at the Commonwealth as well as Asian Games this year. Winning a medals for India is the biggest honour and doing it at these events will make it all the more special. Of course, entering the top 10 of the PSA rankings would be another target,” mused Saurav.
It is only after Saurav’s success that India even looks at squash as a potential medal winning sport on the Olympic or commonwealth stage. Being the flagbearer of a sport would be quite a pressure task, or so you would think. But Saurav seems to get a kick out of it.
Being the leader of firsts in Indian squash, Saurav happily admitted:
“I have always wanted to do something that has never been done before. So being a pioneer of sorts is what drives me on and pushes me to work harder. The pressure, if any, is a privilege.”
For him, it is now that the going gets tough. After having established himself, it is now time to stay there for him to have his position validated.
“Your role changes from the ‘hunter’ to the ‘hunted’. The pressure is different. You need to be one step ahead of everyone in terms of how you play. Getting to the top is always easier than staying there,” said Saurav Ghosal, hours before the CWG begin.