Ace Goan squash player Yash Fadte added yet another feather to his hat by clinching the French Junior Open title in Lille, France on Sunday.
The 18-year-old from Vasco defeated Czech Republic No1 Marek Panachek 3-1 (10-12,11-5,11-4,11-5) in the final and thus became one of the very few Indians to win this prestigious championship, which is counted as one of the oldest happening junior squash events with 40 years completed this year.
Yash, who was seeded No 1 in the championship, began his campaign against Swiss No 2 Lian Keeling whom he outclassed 3-0 (11-4,11-2,11-1) in the pre-quarters.
In the quarterfinals, Yash eased past France No2 Baptiste Bouin 3-0 (11-4,11-5,12-10) before setting up a semifinal clash with France No1 Toufik Mekhalfi.
Unlike the first two opponents against whom Yash had a rather easy ride, his semifinal opponent proved to be a tough nut to crack. The Frenchman made the Goan toil hard as he matched him stroke for stroke. The Ace Goan had to bring all his skills and experience to outsmart the tough opponent to finally emerge victorious 3-2 (9-11,11-6,7-11,11-8,11-9) in a thriller that lasted for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
After a grueling semifinal clash, Yash was expected to find tough challenge in the final from Czech Republic’s No 1 Marek Panachek, who was seeded No 2 for the event. As expected, Yash did struggle against Marek who took the first set 10-12. But after that it turned out to be all Yash’s show as he dominated the game completely and went on to win the next three sets 10-12,11-5,11-4,11-5 and emerged champion.
Yash will be next heading to England on a two-month tour where he will be training and playing with top level coach and players.