Squash star Dipika Pallikal likely to regain full fitness by May

Dipika left for Egypt in January 2021 so that she could be ready to compete by April. But she injured her right knee and had to return to Chennai.

Dipika Pallikal picked up a knee injury during her training in Egypt.   -  Getty Images

India squash player Dipika Pallikal Karthik is likely to regain full fitness by the end of May. She has expressed her inability to participate in the Commonwealth Games camps to be held in Chennai from April 1 to April 5.

Dipika started training in December 2020. She left for Egypt in January so that she could be ready to compete by April. But she injured her right knee and had to return to Chennai. Currently, she is undergoing rehabilitation, strength and conditioning with her trainer. The 12-week rehab is will conclude on May 23.

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Cyrus Poncha, secretary of Squash Rackets Federation of India, said Dipika would be invited to the camp. “It’s been more than two years since Dipika participated in a tournament. We’ll have to see how she plays in the camp,” he told Sportstar on Thursday.

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SRFI, Poncha insisted, will select the best team for CWG. And that players would be picked based on how they perform in the camps, the National championships and PSA tournaments besides the criteria laid down by the federation.

All the top players in the men’s section, Saurav Ghosal, Mahesh Mangaonkar, Ramit Tandon, Vikram Malhotra, Aditya Jagtap, Abhay Singh, Abhishek Pradhan, S. Velavan, Yash Fadte, Veer Chotrani and Aadit Zaveri will be part of the camp. Similarly, all the players from the women’s including Joshna Chinappa, Sunayna Kuruvilla, Tanvi Khanna, Sachika Balvani, Urvashi Joshi, Aparajitha Balamurkan, among others, will be participating.

Live-action on social media

Meanwhile, the first HCL-SRFI Indian Tour, to be hosted since the pandemic, from March 27 to 31, will take place under strict COVID-19 protocols. All players and officials will be allowed movement within a bio-bubble — a secure perimeter including players’ hotel and match venue — to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection. Participants will be tested before their departure and then twice (Mar. 26 & 29) upon arrival. Entry to the venue will be limited to a select number and will be by invitation only.

All the matches will be streamed live on SRFI Facebook page (www.facebook.com/indiasquash ) and HCL & India Squash YouTube channels (youtube.com/user/HCLEnterprise and youtube.com/c/IndiaSquash).

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