Top Indian squash players reluctant to tour Pakistan

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Top Indian squash players, including Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal, have cited security risks as the main reason for not taking part in the Asian Championships beginning May 1 in Islamabad.

The event will be poorer without Dipika and Ghosal, who are ranked World No.15 and World No.19.

The other main players set to miss the event are Joshna Chinappa (World No. 25), Siddharth Suchde (57) and Harinder Pal Sandhu (77).

“The way things stand as of now, I won’t be going there. All of us see security being an issue there. I would have loved to go had the event been elsewhere. I would have been the top seed,” Ghosal told IANS.

Besides Dipika, World No.1 Nicol David from Malaysia has also pulled out of the tournament and instead chosen to prepare for the prestigious British Open scheduled for May 20-26.

Dipika said her parents saw a security risk in Pakistan.

“Though the tournament is not important for the ranking point of view, I would have surely gone in case it was organised elsewhere. We did not want to risk going to Pakistan,” Dipika, the first Indian to break into world’s top-10, told IANS.

Srivatsan Subramaniam of Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI), however, said they were yet to take a call on the issue. “We will let you know shortly,” he said, adding the participation in the event was very much a players’ decision.

Earlier in the month, president of Pakistan’s Punjab Squash Association (PSA) Malik Amjad Ali Noon was quoted as saying that India’s presence in the competition was not important.

“We know India is nothing against Pakistan in squash, so it doesn’t make any difference if they are not coming,” he said.

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