Dipika Pallikal makes remarkable comeback, clinches two gold medals at WSF World Doubles Championships

Dipika Pallikal
Image Courtesy: The Bridge

Indian squash player Dipika Pallikal Karthik broke her four-year-long hiatus on making a jaw-dropping comeback to the sport, and bagged two gold medals at the WSF World Doubles Championships, winning the mixed doubles as well as women’s doubles titles along with compatriots Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa.

Having given birth to twins just six months ago, Dipika was seen in action for the first time since 2018 October, and ended her WSF World Doubles Championships in flying colours, earning India its first gold at the prestigious event.

Dipika teamed up with Saurav Ghosal for her first gold at the championship, defeating the English pair of Adrian Waller and Alison Waters in the mixed doubles summit clash and won the contest 11-6, 11-8.

Just one and a half hours later, she clinched her second gold, pairing up with longtime teammate and the country’s highest-ranked player Joshna Chinappa for the women’s doubled title, thrashing Sarah Jane Perry and Waters of England.

“Just happy to be back on court. I trained really hard (for the comeback),” an elated Dipika told PTI following her triumph at the championship, “I was quite edgy at the start of the tournament but got better as I played more matches. It is a good preparation for us for CWG which is the main target. The competition is more or less the same (here and CWG) and we know more about our opponents and we know where we need to improve.”

An Arjuna awardee and former world no 10, Dipika along with Joshna had won the first gold in the Commonwealth Games at 2014 Glasgow. Four years later, she had taken a break from the sport to focus on family.

However, the 31-year-old went into rigorous training ahead of her comeback and with two gold medals decorating her daunting return to the sport, the upcoming doubles events at the CWG 2022 in Birmingham, and the singles events at the Asian Games in Hangzhou remains her bullseye.

“It is also a relief to be honest that I can still perform. Training is one thing but to be able to do that in a match is another. Never thought we would get this result in my first event in more than three years but so glad that we were able to tick all the boxes. There were people who felt I won’t be able to do this (after motherhood) but I was never in doubt. The bigger goal remains CWG and Asian Games, so looking forward to that,” the mother of two added.

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