India's no. 1 woman player Dipika unaware of world team event
Mumbai: The highest-ranked Indian woman squash player, Dipika Pallikal, would be skipping next month's World Team Championships in Canada as she does not know about the event!
"I don't know about it," was the world number 16s curt reaction when queried on the matter after her Commonwealth Games gold medal winning doubles partner Joshana Chinnappa had informed reporters that Dipika is not part of the team to represent the country.
Joshana, after clinching her 13th national women's title and third on the trot at the Cricket Club of India here, said she will be taking part along with Anaka Alankamony, yesterday's losing finalist Sachika Ingale and Harshit Kaur -- the under 19 national champion -- in the December 1-6 tournament in Cananda.
Joshana and Dipika, who did not play in the Nationals as it clashed with the Monte Carlo Open, were also given honorary life membership by the club for their exploits in winning the CWG women's doubles gold medal in Scotland.
Joshana, ranked 21st in the world currently, said the absence of Dipika will weaken the team.
"We will try to finish in the top 12. It won't be easy without Dipika as the no. 1 player of one team will meet the opposite team's no. 1, and likewise the no. 2s and 3s will meet their opposite numbers. In Dipika's absence I think Anaka will be our no. 2 player," said Joshana who defeated Sachika in 22 minutes of a one-side women's title contest.
Asked why Dipika is not playing, she said, "It would be better that you ask her."
The Egyptian women will be defending their title.
However, the country's top two women would be taking part in the World Championship that follows from December 12-20 in Cairo, Egypt.
Dipika, who won the bronze in the Asian Games in Incheon, said her aim was to better her performance of making it to the quarter-finals.
“I reached the quarterfinals (In Rotterdam in 2011) and want to go at least one better,” said Dipika who is the first Indian woman to reach top ten in world rankings in December, 2012.
Joshana, on her part, welcomed the merger of the men's and women's tours and said it would be hugely beneficial for the women players as there would be more tournaments in the calendar.
“There would be more tournaments for women, whether it is USD 25,000, 50,000, Platinum or above. It's amazing what PSA (men's tour) has been doing and WSA (women's tour) has been slowly catching up,” said Joshana.
Asked how Egypt could produce more number of top women players as compared to India, Joshana said ,”There is a strong club culture in Egypt, there are around 40 clubs in Cairo and the clubs support their players financially. Young players 12-13 old get chance to play with the professionals.”