Chance for Dipika to take the big stride

Mohammed Shorbagy favourite in mens section

Dipika Pallikal

Accorded pride of place in the women’s individual event at the 16th edition of the championship, Dipika will enjoy a distinct advantage of playing on home courts.
In fact, the 17-year-old is expected to go one better than her peer, Joshna Chinnappa, also from Chennai, who made it to the final in 2005 at Herentals, Belgium, before losing to Egypt’s Raneem El Weleily in three well-contested games.

National coach Cyrus Poncha exuded confidence.“Obviously, we are all excited for Dipika. She represents our hopes of becoming the first Indian ever to win a World title. The ICL Academy courts are where she began her squash career and she will have our backing.”
However, it would be no cakewalk for Dipika, who has received a bye in the first round and heads an 11-member Indian contingent in the draw. She has to reckon with a bunch of talented Egyptian players, six of whom are among the top 16.

Dipika is already ranked inside the women’s world’s top 50 and has enjoyed a significant junior career, winning the British U-17 Open in 2008 and reaching the final in both the British U-19 Open and Asian Junior Championship earlier this year.

The Egyptian challenge will be led by second seed Heba El Torky and her younger sister, the 16-year old Nouran, besides the 13-year old prodigy Nour El Sherbini. Heba, the 18-year old from Alexandria, has several notches on her squash belt. Winner of British Junior Open titles in U-13, U-15 and U-17 categories, she has also already bagged two WISPA World Tour titles, at China Open and Pakistan Open last year.

Heading the men’s draw is top seed and defending champion Mohammed El Shorbagy from Egypt who is expected to become only the second player in history to win the men’s crown twice since compatriot Ramy Ashour’s feat in 2004 and 2006. 
He boasts a senior World top 20 ranking

IANS

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