Blog by : Anuradha Guha
Joshna Chinappa is a professional Indian squash player.
She was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on 15th September, 1986. Playing squash runs in Chinappa’s blood. Her family has been interested and actively participating in the game for more than four generations. Her great-grandfather, Marshall K. M. Cariappa, was the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He also actively played squash and it was he who started the tradition of playing this game in the family. Chinappa’s father, Anjan Chinappa, like her great-grandfather also regularly plays squash and has represented India in a variety of international games multiple times.
From a very young age, Chinappa was deeply enamored with this game and considered taking it up as a career. She started playing squash at the Madras Cricket Club from the tender age of 8. Due to her extreme interest in the game, though she continued with her studies, she was never really into them.
Till date, she has played 10 senior and 10 junior National Championships. When she was 14 years old, she was awarded the epithet of the Youngest Senior National Champion.
Chinappa was the first Indian to win the British Squash Championship Title in 2003. In 2004 she won the Indian National Senior, Indian National Junior, Malaysian Junior, Asian Championship, at the Hong Kong Event and at the SAF Games in Pakistan. She was also the Runner-Up at British Open Junior. In 2005, Chinappa was the runner-up at World Junior Championships in Belgium. In the same year, she also won the Asian Junior and British Junior Open. In 2009, she was the winner at NCS Series No. 6 (Tour 12). In 2017, she was the winner at the Asian Squash Title. In 2018, Joshna Chinappa won at the Commonwealth Games.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Chinappa, side by side with Deepika Pallikal Karthik won the squash women’s doubles gold medal, thus making it India’s first Commonwealth Games medal in the sports category.
In spite of her talent, it wasn’t a smooth road for Joshna to reach the place she has today. She was quoted saying- “I chose squash as I was comfortable and there was a sense of familiarity to it.” She has mentioned that she could access the squash courts easily due to her father’s membership, for which she was grateful. But she had to face a problem most sportspersons have to- financial problems.
She couldn’t participate in more than three or four games a year because it was not possible for her family to afford so much travelling expenses. Due to such financial problems, when she got chances to play abroad, she would travel alone since her parents could not afford to come with her every time.
She stresses upon the roles played by parents in helping their children maintain a positive attitude, and as is known, no athlete could succeed with a negative attitude towards the games. She said- “Parents backing is very important.”
She has said in several interviews that she would like to give back to sport. She also highlights that education is extremely important for young people since it is an effective back-up.
She was quoted saying- “I want to help out fellow players and would love to share my knowledge with upcoming players. It would be great to give back to the sport.”