Indian squash is on a high following the two gold medals in the world doubles championship in Glasgow recently and the star players, including Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal, believe it could be the start of a special year for the sport in the country. With the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Asian Games in China slated for later this year, medal hopes for India in squash have risen after the performances in Glasgow.
"Unbelivable two weeks...Didn't expect to win...We know the bigger goal in the next two-three months," Pallikal said at a function organised by Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) to felicitate the medal winning mixed doubles duo, along with Joshna Chinappa. Chinappa had won the women's doubles title with Pallikal. Pallikal, who was returning to the sport after some years and giving birth to twins, won the mixed doubles crown along with Ghosal and the women's event with Chinappa.
Speaking on the occasion, Ghosal said, "It would hopeful be the start of a very special season for Indian squash." Chinappa recalled the hard work put in at the Indian Squash Academy here and the efforts of the coaches in moulding her and the other players.
SRFI president Debendranath Sarangi praised Pallikal, Chinappa and Ghosal and wished they could win more laurels for the country. SRFI patron N Ramachandran recalled the growth of ISA and hailed the performances of the players including Pallikal, Chinappa and Ghosal and wished to see someone from India rise to the No.1 spot in the singles. "I am delighted with the performances of the Indian players who come from the academy. I never dreamt that India would win two golds in the world doubles championship. I wish someone from the country can rise to the No.1 spot in singles," he added.
He thanked the Union Sports Ministry and the Tamil Nadu government for their constant support to squash and hoped the state administration would ensure that the cash incentives to the medal winning stars is given at the earliest. Cash prizes were presented to Pallikal and Chinappa (Rs 2.5 lakh each) for winning the doubles crown and Palikkal and Ghosal (Rs 2.5 lakh each) for the mixed doubles title on behalf of Ramachandran. They were also presented with momentos.