When equality kicks in into Indian squash I’ll play says angry Dipika
DIPIKA PALLIKAL, India’s number one squash star, last night blew the debate on equal pay wide open by revealing she does not play domestic tournaments in her own country because women players don’t get the same deal as men.
The Chennai-born ace, currently ranked World Number 11, has not played any Nationals in India for the last three years and intends boycotting events until women get equality.
“The reason I don’t play many domestic matches is because men and women never get the equal prize money,” revealed the 22 year old. ” I have always stood by the fact that equality is the most important thing. When equality kicks in into the Indian squash, I will definitely start playing domestic matches.”
The Women’s Squash Association has been making huge strides as they battle to improve prize money for the women’s game. Last year the US Open became the first major event to offer parity and the purse for women players at this May’s British Open in Hull was recently boosted to a figure of £100,000.
Meanwhile, Dipika questions the logic behind rewarding squash players based on their gender. “I think that it is really important to acknowledge where women squash players in India stand now, ” she added. “We are higher ranked than men. I am World Number 11 and Joshna (Chinappa) is 20. We do exactly the same thing as men — we train as hard as them, we put in the same efforts, we sacrifice a lot of things just like them.
“Just because they are stronger than us or run faster, there should be an inequality,” says Dipika, who was the first Indian woman to break into the top 10 in the WSA (World Squash Association) rankings in December 2012.
Having been raised in a sports-loving family — her mum has previously captained the Indian Cricket Team and her grandmother has been part of Indian Football team — Dipika says that she has always been surrounded by encouraging people. “I have never come across a situation when my father said ‘Hey squash is not that popular, don’t play!’” says Dipika, who had started off with tennis before switching to squash.
Recently in the news for her engagement with cricketer Dinesh Karthik, Dipika seems to be unperturbed with the cloud of talks passing around — be it her personal life or her glamour quotient. Ranked among the top beautiful women in the country, fashion-savvy Dipika says that she is quite aware of being known for her glamour on court. “I have never really paid much attention to glamour. It is something that comes naturally to me. I don’t wear things because I want to get extra attention, but I wear them because I feel comfortable and that’s how I am,” she says.