Joshna Chinappa

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.”

Jhulan Goswami: 200*

Blog by: Raj Kishan

She is 5 feet 11 inches tall, 120 km/ hr bowling, and No.25 jersey wearing great Indian all rounder from our own India: She is Jhulan Goswami. Jhulan Goswami became the first women bowler to get 200 wickets.

Jhulan, 35, was born in Nadia, West Bengal. She comes from a middle class family. Former football fan, Goswami, took up cricket at the age of 15. Although she had her first encounter with cricket when she saw the 1992 Cricket World Cup, but what, left an impression on her was Belinda Clark’s victory lap after Australia vs. New Zealand 1997 Women’s World Cup final. Cathryn Fitzpatrick, former Australian Women’s team bowler, was one of the reasons she decided to pursue a career in cricket. Watching the former pacer in action with cricketing greats like Belinda Clark and Debbie Hockey, she decided to take up cricket more seriously. Coincidentally, When Fitzpatrick retired in 2007, Goswami took on the title of being the quickest bowler in the women’s game.

Gozzy, as she is called by her teammates, is known for her accuracy and ability to maintain that consistently over long spells. She uses her height to generate good bounce. But it hasn’t been easy. She used to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to catch the local train and reach the practice session. She lives 80 km away from Kolkata, where the practise session took place. Many times she missed the train and couldn’t make it to the practise but she never gave up. Like other Indian parents, Jhulan’s parents’ too wanted her to concentrate more on studies than cricket.

Then there are always sexiest “well-wishers.” “I was asked aren’t you ashamed to play cricket?” Jhulan said in an interview. “My first brush with sexism came as a child in Chakdaha, West Bengal, when boys of a nearby locality refused to play with us seeing a girl in our team. That was the first time I felt belittled.” Well are you now? I am pretty sure they’ll be eating their words now.

Indian spearhead, debuted at the International stage in the year 2002 at the age of 19. She was given Indian captaincy in 2008 and in 2010 World Cup earned India the third place. She held the captaincy till 2011. She is also quite a handy batter known for hitting big sixes.

Career Statistics:

Competition WTest WODI WT20I
Matches 10 166 60
Runs scored 283 995 329
100s/50s 0/2 0/1 0/0
Top score 69 57 37*
Balls bowled 1,972 7,925 1,037
Wickets  40 200  50

Honours and Awards:

  • 2007 – ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year
  • Captain of Indian Women’s Cricket Team (2008–2011)
  • Fastest Bowler
  • 2010 – Arjuna Award
  • 2012 – Padma Shri 
  • Leading International Wicket Taker

On 19th September 2017 it was revealed that a biopic on Jhulan Goswami is in the making with the working title ‘Chakdaha Express.’ It will be directed by Sushanta Das, it will showcase Jhulan’s journey from the Vivekananda Park nets in Kolkata to the Lord’s cricket ground in London, where India lost the World Cup final against England in July, 2017.

Jhulan’s story is the story of grit and determination. It shows the girl power. It is the time of women. So, Go Girls! Show what you got!

Major D.P Singh: India’s First Blade Runner

Blog by: Raj Kishan

Declared dead! If you think you have problems and are giving up on them slowly and relatively easily, you most definitely want to hear Major Singh’s tale first. He was “declared dead” at a point, and literally defeated death to come out like blazing fire!

If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. That’s how Major Singh turned his life into a whole new frame.

Major Devender Pal Singh, born on 13 September 1973, in Jagadhari, India, is a retired officer of the Indian Army. He is a Kargil War veteran. On July 15, 1999, the young major was grievously injured in Kargil during Operation Vijay. Surgeons at that time declared him dead in the army hospital but fortunately later managed to save him after amputating his leg. He literally came back from dead and became inspiration. He gradually started running using a prosthetic limb, and now has run over 18 different marathons in his running career; he is famously known as India’s First Blade Runner.

“We were 80 meters away from the enemy post. A 48-hour lull at that time, without a single bullet being fired, was slightly unnerving. When the conflict scene is hot and nothing happens, you have a feeling that something bad is about to happen. There was a sense of foreboding which precedes a tragedy. The killing area of a bomb is in an eight-meter diameter. Today I can joke that the bomb had my name written on it but it couldn’t still kill me. Jaako raakhe saiyan, mar sake na koye,” Major Singh has bravely told about his tragedy on his website. In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit. Spirit does not get stronger than this!

The training regime is tough! Very tough! It takes him over two hours just to get ready and wear the prosthesis, so he to start training at 5a.m he wakes up at 3a.m. Initially he used to just hop on his good leg and used to drag the prosthetic leg. After months of practice, he could hop-run for over 5 kilometers. “Sweating out like this after so long elated me. Although it was slow going, but I managed to run two half marathons like this,” he said. The remarkable part about the runs was that Singh continuously improved his timing by 15 minutes in each attempt.

Singh got to know about the fibre blade prosthetic from South African blade runner Oscar Pistorius. He has entered the Limca book of records for being the first Indian to run a half marathon with a blade. The Limca Book of Records added his name to their “People of the Year 2016” list.

Major Singh who graduated from the Indian Military Academy (101st course, Regular batch) on 6 December 1997 was commissioned into the 7th Battalion,The Dogra Regiment. Because of the injury, in 2002, he converted to Army Ordnance Corps and later retired from the Indian Army after serving for 10 years in 2007, after serving for 10 years.  He still thanks his Army days and Army comrades for all he is.

“Someone asked me, have you ever been hurt at heart. I said, don’t you see me laughing all the time?” So laugh my friends and carry on!