Dipika Pallikal is a feisty young lady who never minces words. After crying foul over the draw that pitted her against Joshana Chinappa, India's best woman squash player ever, she even threatened to pull out of the Asian Games. But thankfully, she relented.
Dipika Pallikal (left) reacts after winning a point against compatriot Joshana Chinappa during the singles quarter-final yesterday. Pic/AFP
Yesterday, Pallikal celebrated her 23rd birthday in style by beating Joshana Chinappa, her partner in the historic gold medal winning Commonwealth Games only last month, in five scintillating games. Yes, Pallikal, now World No 12, is on her way to writing a few pages of her own in Indian squash history.
Pallikal's win over Chinappa made her the first Indian woman to win a medal in Asian Games squash. That singles medal coming on the heels of the Commonwealth Games gold is doubtless the icing on the cake for the young lady, who some days back admitted in a tweet, "Glasgow has spoilt the level of my expectations." Indeed!
Pallikal who has won just once against five losses to Chinappa since 2008, outlasted her senior teammate 7-11, 11-9, 11-8, 15-17, 11-9 in a match that lasted almost 80 minutes.
Medal for Ghosal too
While Pallikal was scripting her story, India's best-ever men's squash player, Saurav Ghosal, who last month achieved his career best world ranking of No 15, ensured his third successive Asian Games medal.
Ghosal was taken to four games by World No 42 Pakistan's Iqbal Nasir 11-6, 9-11, 11-2, 11-9 in a contest that lasted just under an hour.
After two bronze medals in 2006 and 2010, top-seed Ghosal, the top ranked Asian in PSA World Rankings, is now looking at mining India's first-ever gold medal in Asian Games squash. Pallikal, speaking after the match said, "It's a hard thing to fight for a medal. But you know when you get on the court, a match is match."
She added, "For me, the irony that motivated me was, I have nothing to lose. A lot of people don't know, but there were a lot of things for me to deal in the fight here at Asian Games. In the last minute I wasn't sure if I was going to play."