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Dipika-Harinder clinch mixed team gold in squash; Ghosal bags silver

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 05, 2023 17:23 IST
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Dipika Pallikal

Photograph: Kind Courtesy SAI Media/X

Veterans Dipika Pallikal and Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu survived some anxious moments to clinch the mixed doubles gold, but Saurav Ghosal settled for singles silver on Thursday as Indian squash players recorded their best-ever performance at the Asian Games.

Dipika and Harinder eked out a 11-10, 11-10 win over Malaysian duo of Aifa Binti Azman and Mohammad Syafiq Bin Mohd Kamal in a tense 35 minute final to fetch India's second gold medal in squash at the ongoing event.

However, it was disappointment for India's top player Ghosal as he lost to Malaysia's Eain Yow Ng 11-9, 9-11, 5-11, 7-11 in a little over an hour.

But that wouldn't take sheen out of India's brilliant outing in the squash competition in Hangzhou, where they bettered the country's effort in the Incheon Games 2014.

India had won a historic gold in the men's team event nine years ago, with two silver and a bronze to boot with.

However, in the ongoing Games, India have won two gold, a silver and a bronze.


"I don't always remember what happens on court. It's a blur for both of us. We only remember the last point. We are more than happy. We are very proud of the fact we are here and won gold," Dipika said after the win.

"Myself and Harinder have worked really, really hard to be here at this moment, to be part of this team and to win the gold. We are very humbled to be in this position that we are right now."

Both pairs were neck and neck in the opening game, with none of them able to hold on to the lead. Dipika kept fetching points with her fantastic forehand.

The Indians saved two game points before taking the first game after Aifa erred in hitting a forehand.

Malaysian Major S Maniam, the former India coach, was present in the Malaysian camp.

Leading 9-3 in the second game, the Indian duo was on course for an easy win.

But the Malaysians had other plans as they capitalised on Dipika and Harinder's slightly sluggish movement to take seven consecutive points and rise from 3-9 to 10-9.

The encounter then became more tense as the 10-9 point had to played multiple time due to let (obstruction).

The 34-year-old Harinder then hit two backhand winners to seal the fixture. 

Saurav Ghoshal

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Team India/X

Ghosal, who did not drop a game in this Games till the final, started the match trailing the Malaysian who built an 8-6 lead.

However, Ghosal played some fine forehands to make it 8-8 and eventually won the game.

But the Malaysian turned the table in the second game winning it 11-9, and it seemed to have affected the concentration of Ghosal.

In the third and fourth games, Ghosal hardly produced any fight and his backhand completely deserted him, with the Indian making a slew of errors.

Ghosal also found himself out of position several times in these two games, and lost points through obstruction. 

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