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Yet to formulate plan for return to court: squash star Dipika Pallikal

Ashish Mani Tiwari

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Dipika Pallikal - Squash player
Dipika Pallikal speaks during the launch of adidas' VRCT jacket launch.

New Delhi: India’s star squash player Dipika Pallikal is keen to return to the court but is yet to formulate a clear roadmap on it.

Dipika, who is a bronze medallist at 2018 Asian Games and an Arjuna awardee, became the first Indian to break into the top 10 in the PSA Women’s rankings in December 2012.

She is currently on a break from the sport and exclusively told Sports Lounge that “Currently there is no roadmap, however I am aiming for the 2022 Asian and Commonwealth Games.”

“Earlier, I have stated that, I intend to make a comeback, but actually I do want to make a comeback when I am ready. My goal is to comeback fully fit for the Commonwealth and Asian Games,” she said.

The 2022 CWG will be held in Birmigham, England while the 2022 Asiad will be held in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

The 28-year-old was recently in the Capital for the launch of adidas’ VRCT jacket. The event was a platform to share individual journey, where Dipika described the sporting path she undertook to be a successful squash player.

She also highlighted the issue of gender inequality in sports and advocated more synergy in payment, if not equal pay.

“If the winner of the women’s singles event was paid Rs 50,000, the winner of the men’s event was paid Rs 2, 00,000.

“It never made sense to me because I have always put in the same amount of hard work as my fellow male player did” she added.

She believes that the recently-launched Fit India Movement is workable in the Indian scenario, as it motivates Indian imbibe sports within their routine.

The Chennai-born player also slammed the Squash Rackets Federation of India  (SRFI) over its callous attitude towards the development of the game.

The Indian squash team is without a head coach for over a year now and no news regarding appointment is forthcoming from SRFI.

“We can’t have an elite (Squash) sport in the country without a full-time coach,” Pallikal, who is married to Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik, said.

“We can’t have a new coach who comes in a month before a big tournament, has no clue about your style of play, no prior communication with you and starts advising you about stuff.

“There’s no student-coach relationship then and you can forget about growing the sport with such a move,” she signed off.

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