Indian Nationals : 16 for Joshna, a first for Mahesh
Mahesh Mangaonkar and Joshna Chinappa are the 2018 Indian National Champions …
It was a moment to cherish for Mahesh Mangaonkar and Joshna Chinappa the respective national champions as they achieved a landmark in their careeers.
FINALS: Mahesh Mangaonkar 3-2 [¾] Vikram Malhotra 11-4, 13-15, 11-2, 5-11, 15-13
 Joshna Chinappa 3-1  Urwashi Joshi 9-11, 11-1, 11-6, 11-5
The HCL National squash championship which concluded in New Delhi on Sunday saw the two emerge on top of the rest, Mahesh winning his maiden men’s crown while Joshna equalling the hitherto women’s record of 16 titles that Bhuvaneswari Kumari had won earlier.
Achievments aside, the the road to the top was not an easy affair, atleast Mahesh will vouch for that after the struggling effort over a fighting Vikram Malhotra in a five game tussle of fluctuating fortunes. That Vikram had three match points to settle the argument but failed to grab them all will haunt this US based player for a long time but that was the kind of luck Mahesh needed to ensure his dream come true.
In comparison, Joshna had it easier though Urwashi Joshi of Maharashtra, the second seed did surprise her by taking the first game. As it turned out that dent that Joshna suffered was more an aberration. The reigning champion ensured the ride was smooth from there and so it was as she raced away to her 16th national title something that will inspire her to go for the record next year.
A final can always be tense and Mahesh and Vikram displayed that no less. A year ago in a PSA event, the only occasion when the two had met on the professional circuit, Vikram had edged Mahesh, again over five games. On paper then the day’s form was the key and both looked geared up.
The initial moments gave Mahesh the upperhand but things evened out as the two traded games to take the contest tantalisingly to the final moments of the decider. At 10-9, Vikram seemed all set to take away the title but Mahesh recoiled and from there began the excruciating wait until at 14-13, Mahesh got the all important point to define the moment. Joshna of course did not have to go through all that tension, ensuring that things went as per her dictates.