'Nothing beats winning gold for your country'
Soon after they beat Malaysia in a group stage match at the Asian Team Squash Championships in Kuwait, the Indian women's team knew this might be their chance to create history. And create they did by defeating top seeds Hong Kong in the final on Saturday.
"It's a great feeling to win a title, more so because no one expected us to," Dipika Pallikal, part of the four-member team, told DNA on Tuesday. "We were the underdogs. Nobody took us seriously which, in a way, was good as we were not under any kind of pressure. But we were determined to give it our 100 per cent," the India No 1 added.
The Keralite came up with a spectacular performance to defeat world No 7 Annie Au 11-8 12-10 11-8 in 32 minutes to
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Pallikal, who joined forces with close friend Joshna Chinappa, Anaka Alankamony and Aparjitha Balamurugan to bring home the big prize, weren't in the mood to celebrate, though. Well, the men's team went down to arch-rivals Pakistan soon after the eves' historic triumph. "There were mixed feelings. We were happy with our achievement but, at the same time, we were disappointed that the boys lost," she said.
So what does this victory mean to them? "Honestly, nothing beats winning a gold medal for your country. We have a lot of individual tournaments coming up. This win has come at a good time. It's a morale-booster," added Pallikal, who is ranked 14 in the world.
Pallikal went on to credit her coach, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, for her success. "Whatever I've achieved today is all because of her," she said of the legendary 43-year-old from Australia. "She taught me the difference between knowing and believing. Earlier I knew I could win, but now I believe I can win," added Pallikal, whose next stop is London where she will take part in the May 12-20 British Open.
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