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New Delhi: The experienced trio of Dipika Pallikal, Saurav Ghoshal and Joshna Chinappa brought laurels to India on Saturday. Less than six months after giving birth to twins, Dipika Pallikal became the mother of all comebacks on Saturday. She teamed up with brother-in-law Ghoshal and longtime teammate Chinappa to win the mixed doubles and women’s doubles titles at the World Doubles Championships in Glasgow.

 

Playing her first competitive event since October 2018, Deepika won the mixed doubles title for the first time with Ghosal, registering an 11-6, 11-8 win over England’s Adrian Waller and Alison Waters. An hour and a half later, Deepika and Joshna won the women’s doubles final after a hard-fought 11-9, 4-11, 11-8 win over England’s Sarah Jane Perry and Waters.

 

In the year of Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, the tournament was a perfect preparation for the experienced trio of Dipika, Joshna and Ghosal, who continue to bring glory to the nation even after more than 15 years of competing at the highest level.

 

They are hoping that their performance in the world doubles will be noticed and they are back in the government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). They were included in the scheme four years ago before the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games but have not been added yet.

‘Trained really hard’

Pallikal said, “Just happy to be back on the court. I worked really hard (for a comeback). I was very quick in the beginning of the tournament but as I played more matches I got better. ,

He further added, “It is good preparation for us for the Commonwealth Games which is the main goal. The competition is more or less the same (here and at the Commonwealth Games) and we know more about our opponents and we know where we need to improve.

After giving birth to twins in October, Deepika started training with Joshna and Ghoshal at Chennai’s ISA in December.

Dipika and Joshna created history in 2014 when they won the women’s doubles gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. Compared to the Asian Games, competition in the CWG is much tougher with all top nations competing except Egypt.

Pallikal also added, “To be honest, it is also a relief that I can still perform. Training is one thing but being able to do it in a match is another. I never thought I’d get this result in my first event in over three years, but I’m so glad we were able to tick all the boxes. ,

“There were people who felt that I would not be able to do this (after motherhood) but I never doubted. The big target is for Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, so looking forward to it.”

‘Work becomes easy if you have a partner like Deepika’

Save the Egyptians, players from all the top squash playing nations also participated. Joshna played an excellent final with Dipika and after losing the second game, both of them stayed there.

“Work becomes easier when you have a strong partner like Deepika. We have got confidence from this result but we need to work harder,” Joshna said after the final.

Deepika and Joshna won bronze medals in World Doubles in 2017. India’s highest-ranked player Ghoshal said it was an important preparatory competition.

“We have achieved what we wanted to do with this event. It is a special win but we are not focusing on big goals. It was important to test us here, Dipika was coming back after a long time and she played really well.

Asked about not being in TOPS, he said: “I don’t know why we haven’t been included this time, but I hope we will be soon. Despite this, it doesn’t change my goals and plans, but with TOPS, things become easier and faster. ,

Players also get stipends with TOPS and get approval for training and competition much faster.

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