The Queen of Squash: Dipika Pallikal Karthik

FREDERIQUE CONSTANT WOMAN OF THE MONTH – DIPIKA PALLIKAL KARTHIK

She’s an epitome of someone who lives her passion. Frederique Constant and RITZ Magazine join hands to identify those women who live their passion. The luxury watch brand believes in the ethos of being classical and traditional whilst remaining timeless with a genuine passion for details. Meet Dipika Pallikal Karthik, our Frederique Constant Woman of the Month.

BY NAMITA GUPTA

She’s not only Chennai’s blued eyed girl, but the pride of the entire nation. Dipika Pallikal Karthik maybe only 27, but she already has a long list of achievements to her credit. Her awards and victories are a clear testimony that she’s an ace in her sport and for only sky is the limit for this squash champion. First Indian to break into the top 10 in the PSA Women’s rankings, Dipika is the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2012 and the Padma Shri Award in 2014. Some of her recent awards include a Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games – Women’s Doubles – Australia – 2018, Silver Medalist – Commonwealth Games – Mixed Doubles – Australia – 2018 and Bronze Medalist – Asian Games – Individual – 2018, besides a Silver Medal at the Asian Games in 2018. Dipika created history when she entered the Quarter final stage of the World Open in 2011. We speak to the talented sportstar on how she’s living her passion and her driving force that keeps her going.

What do you feel about the brand and being chosen by them as the RITZ Magazine Frederique Constant Woman of the Month? Have you seen the latest women’s collections from Frederique Constant frederiqueconstant.com? 

I know about Frederique Constant and have been following their latest collections online. They’re very elegant and classy. Feels good to be associated with this brand. I’m so proud to be one as I also believe in their philosophy of following your passion. Thank you so much RITZ Magazine and Frederique Constant.

What motivated you to become what you are today?

I come from a very sports-oriented family. Their achievements were a great source of inspiration to me and I stayed focused to be as good as them. My mum (Susan) played cricket for India, she even captained India, my grandparents were great athletes too representing their States in athletic championships. So we grew up with sports all around us and inspiration from within the family itself.

How tough was it to make a mark in your sector?

Being from a sports loving family it was just a matter of time and my own will and determination to get to the top of my game.

Any challenges and how you overcame them to follow your passion?

Every sport comes with its share of politics. The better you get the more are the challenges. I rose too fast to fame, at the age of 12 I won my first junior nationals just one and half years after starting out playing squash. I had then many brands sponsoring and endorsing me. Squash soon became a household name and I enjoyed playing the hard-fought games, travelled extensively around the world and stayed at no 1 in the world in the European squash ranking from when I was 17, till I crossed over to the Senior Circuit touching 19 years. Between all this I had to leave Chennai and stay in Egypt for training when the squash academy decided I could not train in their academy. I cried and I cried a lot but my parents were a great inspiration every step telling me never to give up. I was only 13 and had to leave India but Egypt welcomed me with open arms. I used to travel back to give my exams in school, my friends and teachers used to send me notes for which I am eternally grateful. A sportsperson’s life is tough, not rosy for a fact, but that said there are days of joy and you love it, days of tears that you hope will end soon and victory will be yours again.

What message do you have for women who encounter roadblocks? How would you best describe yourself as a woman who’s living her passion?

Never give up. You need to set a goal and chase that goal. It’s that one dream you need to chase and I can assure you that on your journey there would be people who you would meet to both encourage and discourage you but what you have as your goal should always be foremost and never deviate. Have a strong will and the faith that everything is possible with you and God.

What are your views on other women achievers?

There are a lot of women who have done our country proud. This only goes to show the potential we have as a nation and I’m hopeful that there is a lot more coming.

Highpoints of your journey so far?

I am just humbled I could be world no 1 in the juniors in the ESF rankings and at the age of 20 reach a career best of 10 in the WSF world ranking. A first by any Indian squash player. I also received the Arjuna award and the Padmashri award and also created history by bagging the first ever Commonwealth doubles gold medal for India in 2014. This year I got 2 silver medals at the Commonwealth games and followed it up at the Asian Games with one silver and one bronze.

What are your plans on contributing towards squash in India?

Squash is such an integral part of my life and I would like to give back to the sport as much as it has given me.

What keeps you motivated and inspired?

Just the fact where I gave landed up with all the awards keeps me motivated but grounded all the time.

What are your other interests and hobbies?

I really enjoy baking and experimenting in the kitchen. I find it quite therapeutic.

What is your style statement? What are your fashion preferences?

To me it’s really important to be comfortable and confident in what you wear.

What kind of accessories do you like? What kind of taste do you have in watches?

My favourite accessories are earrings and watches. I love stylish and smart watches.

How has life changed after marriage?

Marriage hasn’t changed much I would say. Ever since I met Dinesh Karthik, our schedules have always been crazy, we’re almost always travelling and in different time zones so It all still feels the same.

What are your future plans?

Too much is going on. But I don’t go according to plan. I just hope to stay healthy and happy!