Indian squash players Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal, silver medal winners at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast earlier this year, have recommended coaches not recognised by the federation for awards, reported the Times of India.
The SRFI has sent a letter to SAI director general Neelam Kapoor explaining their stand after Pallikal and Ghosal had applied for the “attestation of coaches award”.
Pallikal recommended A Parthiban, a former player and Ghosal recommended Digpal Singh Ranawat, who the federation is not even aware of. Parthiban confirmed to Scroll.in that he has received his cash award of Rs 9 lakh from Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu while Ranawat is awaiting his financial incentive, the TOI report added.
The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) has refused to accept their nomination.
“We received an application from Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal for attestation of coaches award for their medal won at the CWG 2018. While the federation recognizes and acknowledges the medal win, it is unable to certify the name of the coaches mentioned by the players in their application,” the report quoted the SRFI’s letter.
Sources close to the federation feel that Parthiban’s recommendation is not valid because he is not associated with the Indian Squash Academy in Chennai, which is one of the only two locations in India where doubles courts are available.
Speaking to Scroll.in, Parthiban confirmed he has been working with Pallikal. “I coach at the Bhavans Rajaji Vidyashram academy, where Dipika comes anytime she wants. It’s true that there are no doubles courts here at the academy, but she doesn’t train for doubles all the time. When she wants to train personally, she works with me,” he said.
The TOI report also quoted Susan Pallikal, Dipika’s mother, who clarified that Parthiban has been helping her daughter for some time. “I don’t know why the federation has refused to certify Parthiban now? But when he received the award from the Tamil Nadu government for the best squash coach, nobody objected or raised any questions,” she was quoted as saying.
The federation’s contention with the issue is that both the medals won by Pallikal at CWG 2018 were in the doubles category (women’s doubles with Joshna Chinappa and mixed doubles with Ghosal) and it would make sense to nominate the coaches at the ISA where she trains specifically for doubles. National coach Cyrus Poncha refrained from commenting on the situation.