India’s top-ranked player Dipika Pallikal is conspicuous by her absence at the ongoing National Squash Championship but she remains firm on her stance of not being part of the premier domestic event until equal prize money is offered to male and female participants.
Pallikal, who has Kerala roots, wanted to compete in the first ever Nationals in the state but with the prize purse being bigger for men, she decided to give the tournament a miss for the fourth year in a row. The 23-year-old last played the Nationals in 2011, when she won her first and only title till date.
“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,” said Pallikal, the sole Indian to break into World’s top-10,.
“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,” said the player, who is currently ranked 18 in the world.
Anish Mathew, secretary of Squash Rackets Federation of Kerala, said the total prize money of the tournament is Rs. 6.7 lakh but winners’ purse in either category has not been decided yet. However, it has been learnt that men’s champion will pocket Rs 1,20,000 and women Rs. 50,000.