Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dipika to strive ro create history

From the Hindu

Chennai (PTI): India's Dipika Pallikal, who has been top seeded in the World junior individual championship, will strive to create history by winning the women's title.

Seventeen-year old, Dipika is fast emerging as a squash superstar. She has steadily been gaining points in the world junior circuit ever since she had the rare distinction of being the first Indian squash player to be ranked No. 1 in the European and Asian rankings in the under-15 category.

In the history of the championship, India's Joshna Chinappa has the best results having lost in the 2005 title clash at Herentals (Belgium) to Egypt's Raneem el-Weleily.

National coach Cyrus Poncha has also pinned hopes on Pallikal creating history by becoming the first Indian to win the title. "Obviously, we are all excited for Dipika. She best represents our hopes in becoming the first Indian ever to win a World title. The ICL Academy courts are where she began her squash career and she will have our backing."

However, Pallikal, being sponsored by the L.N.Mittal Trust, feels that she needs to be patient in scoring winners against the tough Egyptian rivals and few others.

She has to ward off a bunch of talented Egyptian players, six of whom are among the top 16 seeds, besides Canada's Laura Gemmell (third seed). "The competition will not be just from the Egyptians. Everyone in the fray has been training hard. I will take one match at a time and give my best", Pallikal, who is also into modelling, said.

The top seed at the championship, which begins on Wednesday, said the world junior title is a priority for her. She has been training under Amir Wagih in Egypt with that in mind.

"I have been training with Wagih for the last two years and everything has been going in the right direction. This year my hope has been to peak for the junior world title."

With only Anwesha Reddy, seeded 9-16 for company in the seeding list, Pallikal has fairly easy rounds with a bye to the second round until she meets 17-32 seeded player from New Zealand or the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

Apart from Pallikal and Anwesha, India has fielded nine other players in the women's section.

On the other hand, Egyptian el-Shorbagy, the defending men's champion, is considered a certainty at retaining his title in men's section.

The Indian challenge in the boys’ individual event will be led by 9-16 seeds Aditya Jagtap and Ravi Dixit and the 17-32 seeds Karan Malik and Ramit Tandon and eight other unseeded players.

On the chances of India in the championship, Dixit, an Asian Junior bronze medallist said "it is a tough field. We have to give our best and perform to our potential to progress into medal contention. We have had the best of preparations for the event. Malim, Tandon and myself had a month long training under Malcolm Willstrop in Leeds in England. It was a great experience as the focus was building our basic game."

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