‘Focus is on the World team championships’

Adidas launched the Chennai leg of its “adidas Uprising” initiative here on Tuesday, and Dipika Pallikal was the special guest endorsing it. She entered the event with medals a few accrued already this year — she partnered Joshna Chinappa for a bronze, and Saurav Ghosal for a silver at the World doubles squash championships in August, after winning her second National title in July. So there was interest on what’s she got planned now.

“I’ve got four tournaments back to back. First, the U.S. Open, followed by two more events in America itself, and then there’s one in Egypt. After all these, there’s the World team championships in Paris that’s the primary focus. Last time, we were seeded 12th or 13th, and finished fifth. This year we’ll try and win a medal, or at the least go one better. So, that’s pretty much the plan for the next two months. The season is coming to an end quite early this year. There’s nothing in December,” she said.

Talking of her latest, high-profile wins at the World doubles, she said that it helped “warming up” for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. “To try and win a few medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games is one of our biggest targets, and the World doubles served as a warm-up for it. I think we could have done better. But we are quite happy with what we’ve achieved, and hopefully, we can keep working on our positives.”

She said that it’s hard for her, or Joshna, to say how Indian women’s squash will cope after their exit. “It’s hard to see what will happen after we go. It’s hard for us to comment. But, hopefully, we can see a few more Dipikas and Joshnas in the future.

She said that the Indian women’s performance in the Olympics this year, will boost the self-belief of any emerging girl athlete, and added that she’s “looking forward to play with home support” at the Asian individual squash championships, to be held here in May 2017.