Dipika Pallikal Wins India's First Gold At Squash Doubles Only To Be Called Cricketer's Wife

Professional squash player Dipika Pallikal recently made her comeback in the game and won two golds for India at the World Doubles Championships in Glasgow.

Bhavya Saini
Apr 12, 2022 14:13 IST
dipika pallikal
Dipika Pallikal is an Indian professional squash player who made headlines after winning big time at World Doubles Championships in Glasgow. Instead of highlighting her success as a sportsperson, a news portal identified Pallikal as cricketer Dinesh Karthik's wife. As if Pallikal has her marriage to the famous cricketer listed as one of her achievements. Many including Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle have criticised the new portal's report for being sexist and diminishing the female squash player as rather just a wife.

Dipika Pallikal recently won gold in two titles: mixed and women at the World Doubles Championships in Glasgow. It is the first time that India has won gold at the Squash tournament. After she amassed rank in the world's top 20, Pallikal took a break from the court in 2018 and started an interior designing business.

Partnered with Saurav Ghosal in the mixed title and with Joshna Chinappa in the women's category, Pallikal made a victorious comeback in the game. In an interview with the World Squash Federations, Pallika mentioned, "For us women, our bodies go through a lot, day in and day out, and I think it's important to believe in ourselves. What's really worked for me is I've had a lot of support from family and friends and that's why I'm here today, because a lot of people believed in me."

Dipika Pallikal is the first Indian to make her name among the top 10 PSA Women's rankings. The squash player grew to popularity when she won three Women's International Squash Players Association (WISPA) titles in 2011. Dipika Pallikal married Indian cricketer Dinesh Karthik in 2015.


While the country is celebrating her as a champion, popular Cricket commentator and analyst Harsha Bhogle expressed his displeasure on a news headline which referred Dipika Pallikal as Dinesh Karthik's wife rather than recognising her as her own identity. Along with Bhogle, many others have deemed the headline used by a news portal as sexist and demeaning to Pallikal's individuality. The news portal also mentioned Pallikal's children in the blurb of the article.

The headline read: "Dinesh Karthik's wife Dipika Pallikal powers India to HISTORIC World Doubles Squash C`ships titles."

While the news portal has rectified its mistake of refusing to acknowledge Pallikal as her own person, this practice is not new to the media. The practice of referring women by the name of their male partners or fathers has been carried out since forever. Even though women have time and again protested and demanded to be introduced for their achievements, somehow the practice still remains prevalent in the 21st century.


This practice has been so normalised and institutionalised in our society that most of the times it passes unnoticed. Other times, people prefer to have a male reference to acknowledge the achievements of women since as of it gives them a better understanding of who they are. People might not know Zoya Akhtar as a director in the Indian cinema, but they do remember her as Farhan Akhtar's sister or Javed Akhtar's daughter, despite her being an ace filmmaker who has given superhit films to the audience.

Harsha Bhogle mentioned in his tweet calling out the news portal for their sexist headline, "It isn't fair to @DipikaPallikal who is a champion in her own right. I hope you will." And we can't agree more. Pallikal is a champion as well as her own person and her achievements in the field of sports are more than enough to speak for her individuality. See the post here.

How long are we going to keep up with such sexist and patriarchal ideals where women are denied recognition? Are women not entitled to be identified by their own achievements? If Dinesh Karthik is identified as an ace cricketer, why should Dipika Pallikal, despite all her great achievements, be just called his wife?


Suggested Reading: Dipika Pallikal’s Identity Isn’t Limited To Being A Cricketer’s Wife

Should women be referred with their male partner's or father's name? Tell us your views in the comments.

Views expressed by the author are their own. 

#Dipika Pallikal #Dinesh Karthik #Harsha Bhogle