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Pallikal: 2014 could be big for Indian squash

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Pallikal Bob Givens

Pallikal targets India’s maiden medal at the Commonwealth Games 

World number 10 Dipika Pallikal has set her sights on winning the first ever medal for India’s squash team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. 

Pallikal, who is a seven-time winner on the WSA Tour, was unable to compete on home soil at the 2010 Delhi Games after being forced to pull out due to a mild fever. 

However, the Indian number one returned to represent her country less than two months later at the 2010 Asian Games and won a bronze medal alongside fellow compatriots Anaka Alankamony, Anwesha Reddy and Joshana Chinappa. 

And with the likes of Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal now featuring in the top 20 of the WSA and PSA world rankings respectively, Pallikal is confident of further medal successes at both the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in South Korea later this year. 

“I think this year is a big year for Indian squash,” the 2013 Macau Open champion told the Mumbai Mirror. “I think the CWG and the Asian Games are the biggest platforms for us and we would definitely like to win a few medals,” 

“I think the biggest challenge for the CWG is getting enough time to practice our doubles. Our singles are taken care of as we play tournaments and we all have our coaches and we work around our own goals. But our biggest challenge would be getting enough time to practice for our doubles as we have really good chances in winning a few medals at the doubles event.”

The Indian number one re-entered the world’s top 10 for the first time since December 2012 earlier this month and recently became the first squash player to receive the prestigious Indian government Arjuna Award; a feat she believes showcases her rise to prominence in the women’s game. 

“This award definitely means a lot to me,” revealed the 22-year-old from Chennai. “It means that I’m on the right track in achieving my goals. It’s my second big award after the Arjuna and I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to be receiving it.

“It means a lot to my family as they’ve been my biggest support all through these years. I think recognition by the government is important for every sport and even more important for our sport. We lost out on the Olympics and I think such awards just show that squash is a spectacular sport.”

Pallikal will return to competitive action at the KL Open in Malaysia next month, where she will be hoping to improve on her second round exit last year.

Source: Mumbai Mirror; Picture by Bob Givens

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