Coach’s exit disheartening but focused on defending CWG gold: Pallikal

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 Mar 2018 11:11:39



ALL that could go wrong has gone wrong for Indian squash in the last four weeks but a “disheartened” Dipika Pallikal has chosen to take it in her stride as she aims to defend the doubles gold alongside Joshna Chinappa in the Gold Coast Games beginning April 4.The acrimonious exit of foreign coach Achraf El Karargui days before the CWG has affected the team’s preparations but medal hopefuls Pallikal, Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal remain optimistic of their chances in all three events—singles, doubles and mixed doubles.Pallikal and Chinappa especially worked intensely with Karargui over the past two years. The squad gathered in Chennai on March 19 and will depart for Gold Coast this weekend.

“I cannot speak for others but it (not having a coach) is disheartening. I have been training with him for over two years and it is hard not to have him in your corner during the Games. Having said that, we are all professionals and we realise we have a very important job at hand, that is to defend our gold,” Pallikal told PTI.“He (Karargui) was the biggest asset for the team. I think he has changed a lot for Indian squash. For me, I know that I will be on a phone call with him everyday. It has all gone downhill in the last four weeks and now we are just trying to move forward,” she said further.Shooting coachPandit’s name for CWG
approved by ministryTHE Sports Ministry has approved shooting coach Ronak Pandit’s name in the Indian Olympic Association’s list of non-athletes as part of the contingent for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and ace pistol shooter Heena Sidhu had slammed the sports ministry amid reports it had called for dropping of 21 names, including that of her husband and coach Pandit, from the IOA’s list of non-athletes as part of the contingent for the Gold Coast Games.
Pandit, a former India shooter, will be travelling to the Games on ‘cost to government’s (government taking care of his expenses like other technical specialists) as coach-cum-manager of the shooting team, according to the IOA list.CWG a stepping stone,my target is World
Championship: HeenaLEAST affected by the recent controversies around her, India’s pistol ace Heena Sidhu’s primary target is the World Championship, as she looks to use the upcoming Commonwealth Games as a “stepping stone” to achieve success in bigger events.
“These Games are important—CWG and Asian Games give you a heads up to Olympics. It’s a very important year and the biggest challenge for me is the World Championship,” Heena told PTI.

A former world number one in air pistol, Heena added, “Training is going very well and we have accomplished a lot. It is a stepping stone for the rest of the tournaments, especially the World Championship.”
The 52nd World Championships will be held from August 31 to September 15 in Changwon, Korea. There are 48 individual Olympic quotas and 12 mixed team Olympic quotas set to be assigned there.
A disappointed Heena recently let out her frustration on social media amid reports that the Sports Ministry had called for dropping of 21 names, including that of her husband and coach Ronak Pandit, from the Indian Olympic Association’s list of non-athletes as part of the contingent for the Gold Coast Games.

Asked if it distracted her from her goal, the World Cup Finals gold-medallist responded in the negative.
“I don’t feel tension and let these issues distract my training. I am not worried about what has happened and only concentrate on training. Shooting and nothing else.”
Ronak’s name, though, has been cleared finally, it was learnt.

“Ronak is also my coach and has been training me for the past six years,” the Asian and Commonwealth Games medallist said.
“Shooting is a measurable sport, Ronak is a proven shooter and has competed in many tournaments for India, and won. Even if one spends five minutes at the range one would understand who is the coach.”

Riding on a highly successful 2017, the 28-year-old Heena enters the Commonwealth Games as one if the favourites, though she is likely to face stiff competition from compatriot 16-year-old Manu Bhaker, who is proving to be a wunderkind, having won double gold in her maiden ISSF senior World Cup and the ongoing junior World Cup in Sydney.

“They have shown tremendous potential in recent times and that augurs very well for Indian shooting,” Heena said of the young crop of Indian shooters, who have taken the world by storm, regularly winning medals in top tournaments.Heena’s success last year included three gold medals and another at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships.