The Indian pair of Dipika Pallikal-Harinderpal Singh Sandhu clinched the gold medal at the Asian Mixed Doubles Squash Championship at Huangzhou in China on Friday.
Notably, this is a six-nation tournament that witnessed the participation of players from Iran, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and hosts China. This is more of a test event before the big Asian Games.
The Asian Games will witness mixed doubles for the first time. Though squash has been a part of the Asian Games for more than two decades, the mixed doubles event will be a new addition this time.
The Indian duo had a promising start by winning the medal in the 'test event'. Seeded third in the tournament, Dipika Pallikal and Harinderpal Singh Sandhu won the final by defeating Malaysia's Ivan Yuen and Rachel Arnold. The match was a close affair, but the Indian duo came out on top 2-0 (11-10, 11-8).
With just a few days remaining before the big event, this is a great boost for the country. Also, this was Dipika Pallikal's first tournament since the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
On their way to the final, the Indian duo also faced the top-seeded Syafiq Kamal and Aifa Azman in the semi-finals. The Indian pair dominated the match to win it 2-0.
Anahat Singh-Abhay Singh win bronze medal
India also had another podium finish on Friday. The Indian duo of Anahat Singh-Abhay Singh won the bronze medal in the same event. They were defeated by the eventual runners-up Malaysia's Ivan Yuen and Rachel Arnold.
For the uninitiated, Anahat Singh is 14 years old and was the youngest member of India's Commonwealth Games contingent. Abhay, on the other hand, represented India in his first-ever Commonwealth Games in 2022.
The 19th Asian Games will take place from September 23 to October 8 this year in China. All the 45 nations, who are members of the Olympic Council of Asia, are expected to send participants to the games.