The recently concluded 63rd Senior National Squash Championships in Kerala was a huge success. Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinnappa emerged victorious in the men’s and women’s categories respectively.
The tournament however did not see the participation of India’s No. 1 player Dipika Pallikal, who chose to give the tournament a miss for the fourth year in a row. The 23-year-old isn’t pleased with the pay disparity that is prevalent in Indian tournaments.
"The reason is the same why I haven't played in the last three years. I feel we deserve equal pay like most of the tournaments which are becoming equal prize money on the PSA professional circuit," Dipika said.
"I don't see why there should be a difference between men and women. I would have loved to play in Kerala and definitely miss playing the Nationals,"she added.
If that is the only reason for her skipping national tournaments, why did she compete in international tournaments where prize money for women is less compared to men?
Here are few tournaments (for both men and women) Dipika took part since January 2014 along with the prize money:
|Tournament||Month – Year||Men||Women||Position|
|Windy City Open||March 2014||$115,000||$50,000||1st Round|
|British Open||May 2014||$150,000||$100,000||1st Round|
|China Open||September 2014||$88,000||$50,000||Quarterfinals|
|Windy City Open||March 2015||$150,000||$150,000||1st Round|
|British Open||May 2015||$150,000||$115,000||2nd Round|
Dipika won her only National title in 2011 and been lukewarm to national tournaments ever since she became country’s top ranked player. Her compatriot Joshna Chinnappa is a regular at all national events and won her 14th National title in Thiruvananthapuram.
"I consider it my duty to play for my state or to represent my country in international tournaments, Joshna told Times of India.
Is it time for the National Federations to make national tournaments compulsory for all players? The administrators of concerned bodies will have to answer that.