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  Rashtriya Sahara Roznama Sahara
Asian Games: Mom Dipika happy to win gold in mixed doubles, being role model for other women
Last Updated : 05 Oct 2023 04:15:21 PM IST


Having won the gold medal in the Squash Team competition at the 19th Asian Games, Dipika Pallikal Karthik made Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu hide his medal and not think about it as they had to play the mixed doubles final.

Harinder and Dipika combined together to get the better of the Malaysian pair, Aifa Binti Azman and Mohammad Syafiq Bin Mohad Kamal, surviving a match ball in the second game to win 11-10, 11-10 and claim the gold medal in mixed doubles event.

Dipika and Harinder became the first pair to win the gold medal as Mixed Doubles made its Asian Games debut in Hangzhou.

"I was told not to think about that gold medal before this match and so hid it and the floral bouquet that came with it under my bed. I was too excited in the first game, just like a teacher, she helped me settle down," Harinder said after the match.

It was a fighting display by the Indians, who engaged in a neck-and-neck battle with the Malaysian pair before catching up with them at 6-6, Dipika and Harinder took a two-point lead before scores were tied once again at 8-8. The Indian pair went on to win the he first game 11-10.

Dipika and Harinder had a big lead at 9-2 in the second game before the Malaysians fought back to win eight points in a row and take a 10-9 lead. Facing game ball, the Indians eventually won the next two points to win the match in straight games.

"For me and Harry (Harinder Pal Singh) to have come back and done this - if you asked us a few years back if we would be part of this team or where we are standing and winning gold, I don't think we would have believed (it). We really, really put in the effort. We put in the hard work back home and I'm very, very glad it worked out," said Dipika, who had to shed a lot of weight she put on during childbirth in 2021 and get fit.

"It was hard work, very challenging, I had to lose so much weight, get fit, get match fit and the to come hear and play as a mother you have that guilt conscious. But now I say to me boys that I was not holidaying in Hangzhou. I was working hard," said Dipika.

Of the final, Dipika said she remembers only the final points, how they won it. "Everything else is like a blur at this moment. We will sit down later and analyse what happened," she said.

Both Dipika and Harinder admitted to being a bit nervous at the start.

"We were a bit nervous in patches, but we played well to have won the match. Right now we are not thinking about anything else, there are no other matches to think about We're just going to take it all in, share it with our family and friends, and all of us who helped us get here.," she said.

Dipika said she was happy to be considered an inspiration for women who leave sport after marriage and child birth.

She said women should not think their career was over after children. She said it was nice to be considered a role model for others.

"My boys will not understand it now but they will realise what this gold medal means for so many people. There has been an incredible group of people who have worked hard with us," said Dipika.

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