Squash sensation Deepika Pallikal is upset with the "manipulative" singles draw, according to which she is set to meet her partner Joshana Chinappa during the quarterfinals of the Incheon Asian Games. Due to this, Pallikal has now threatened to pull out of the tournament.
The duo won the first ever squash gold medal for the country in the doubles category at 2014 Commonwealth Games. Now, the two stand to face each other in the quarterfinals, contrary to the rule.
The rule states that "optimum separation of players of the same nationality to be used, e.g. Drawn in different halves of the draw and, if more than two competitors from the same nation, different quarters. Where players are drawn into the same section of a draw they shall be kept apart as far as possible."
Saurav Ghoshal met Ritwik Bhattacharya in the quarters at the 2006 Doha Games and again Ghoshal played Siddharth Suchde in 2010.
"It is disheartening to see the draw like this. Clearly the draw makers have not gone by the rules and put Joshana and I in the same quarter, let alone the half," the World no. 12 told PTI.
"I don't think this is a coincidence. This has happened for the third Asian Games in a row.
"I have already written to our federation to appeal against the manipulated draw but I am yet to get a reply. I am surely going to think about pulling out if the draw is not set right."
Pallikal fears that the draw lessens the chances of India winning medals.
"It (the draw) robs India of a chance of getting two medals in the women's singles," she said.
"It is a wrong approach. Both Joshana and I are capable of winning medals."
However, going by the record, Chinappa has better chances of winning if they meet in quarterfinals. She has won five times out of the six encounters against Pallikal since 2008.
Pallikal had earlier written to the Asian Squash Federation (ASF) regarding the same issue, to which they replied: "World Squash Federation does not operate or administer the senior men's and women's world championships by itself and your quoted rule only applies to world junior championships."
Meanwhile, Chinappa is not making a great deal out of it.
"As a professional, I think it's only fair that I play whoever I'm drawn to play against. Representing the country is the priority for me," said World No. 21.
The duo will meet in the quarterfinals on September 21, if they win their respective opener against China's Jinyue Gu and Korea's Sunmi Song.