Dipika proves a point

September 21: There is a big bunch of penpushers, including the Diary, keen to watch Dipika Pallikal in action. The young lady, who is bringing a lot of attention to squash with her lovely looks, had been in the news recently with a threat that she could pull out of the Asian Games.

She had been upset that the women's singles fixtures had set her up for a quarterfinal clash with her Chennai city-mate and friend Joshna Chinappa and she felt that there had been some manipulation.

So the quarterfinal between the two is a must-watch event. It's a high-pressure affair, loaded with ups and downs, and at one stage in the fourth game, when Dipika allows four match balls to slip through, one hears her scream, `what the hell..', at the referees.

But she is all smiles a little later. For the 3-2 quarterfinal victory assures her a bronze, the first by an Indian in women's singles.

It's a very happy day for Dipika, for it's her 23rd birthday day today. And the men's top seed Saurav Ghosal, who is also assured of a medal after taking his semi?nal, offers her a peck on the cheek.

Where is the photographer, somebody desperately asks. Unfortunately, there is none.

A little later, the Diary learns the reason for Dipika's change of mind and for her presence at Incheon.

"When I spoke about a pull-out earlier, in protest against the unfair fixtures which put Joshna and me from the same country in the same quarter, there was a newspaper article which said that I felt threatened by Joshna and that's why I was considering staying away," says the 23-year-old.

"That made me angry and frustrated. That's the reason why I came here. To prove people wrong. And I'm very happy that I won," adds the World No. 12. The Diary, along with the dozen or so from the media team, is happy that Dipika won but not with the two-hour wait for the bus that is supposed to take it to the main press centre. Plans go awry. Plans to go to the women's team badminton semi- final are pushed away.