Laksiri’s grit and glory in the 9th Sunil Verma Memorial Open Squash Championship

Ravindu Laksiri 2

MUMBAI, Dec 23, Sat: In a nail-biting final at the 9th Sunil Verma Memorial Open Squash Championship in Mumbai, Sri Lanka’s champion Ravindu Laksiri displayed true sportsmanship despite a surprising 2-3 defeat to India’s Rahul Baitha in the high-stakes final.

The match, lasting a grueling 70 minutes, saw Laksiri dominate the first two sets with an incredible performance, winning 11-6 and 11-7. Despite playing through pain after an early hit to his racket, Laksiri’s resilience was evident.

However, the tide turned as Baitha rallied, applying pressure that led to Laksiri’s tight 10-12 loss in the third set. Despite initially leading in the fourth and fifth sets, Laksiri ultimately succumbed to Baitha’s relentless attacks, losing 8-11 in both sets.

Reflecting on the match, Laksiri admitted, “My match focus wasn’t there in the fourth and fifth sets. I played with pain after being hit in the first set, and the crowd pressure was something I felt for the first time.”

Acknowledging the challenging conditions, Laksiri emphasized the rarity of such a defeat in his career. “Normally, I am a calm player. Due to unexpected head injury and pain, and the crowd pressure, I was under pressure because he was a lower-ranked player.”

This runner-up finish marks Laksiri’s third PSA Challenger final in his career. Earning 40 points for world rankings, he aims to climb from his current 137th position. Despite the impact of participating in lower-budget PSA tournaments in South Asia, Laksiri looks forward to competing in higher-ranked events in Europe to boost his global standing.

Despite the setback, Laksiri expressed gratitude to his supporters, including family, DS Senanayake College Old Boys Union, employer Brandix, Squash Federation officials, practice venue Sinhalese Sports Club, and coaches. Special mention went to Nevindu Lakman, his lone supporter at the event.

As the curtains fall on his PSA Challenger Tour for the year, Laksiri remains hopeful for a successful campaign next year. “I must be thankful to everyone who supported me during this tournament. It’s been a huge experience, and I look forward to better performances in the future.

Ravindu Laksiri 1 scaled
Ravindu Laksiri with the runner-up trophy of the 9th Sunil Verma Memorial Open Championship in Thane, Mumbai on Saturday.
error: Content is protected !!