World No.12 Pallikal had considered pulling out of the Games beginning September 19 after finding the singles draw "manipulated" for the third edition in a row.
"I have decided to play and put everything behind after due deliberation. I have always put country first and this time it is no different. The focus is on giving my best and try and win medals in both team and individual event," Pallikal said.
According to the women's singles draw, longtime teammates Pallikal and Joshana Chinappa are expected to face each other in the second round, which happens to be the quarterfinal stage.
Both players have called the possible face-off "unfortunate" less than two months after they won India's first ever squash medal at the Commonwealth Games, where they beat fancied teams from Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia to bag the doubles gold.
The controversy over the Asian Games draw is not new. There were allegations of rigging when Saurav Ghosal secured back-to-back bronze in the 2006 and 2010 edition beating compatriots Ritwik Bhattacharya and Siddharth Suchde in the quarterfinals respectively. Losing semfinalists get a bronze each at the Asian Games and in both cases (2006 and 2010), it was India's only medal in the individual events.
This time there is a good possibility of bettering the past performance with both Pallikal and Chinappa at the top of their game. The winner of the Pallikal-Chinappa will assure India a bronze but the country could have won two medals in the category had they were not in the same half.
The lack of clarity on the draw rules has not helped in the current scenario. The technical handbook of the 17th Asian Games states that technical issues will be resolved in accordance with both sport's world body WSF and the Asian Squash Federation (ASF).
While WSF regulation states two compatriots cannot be in the same half of the draw, the ASF regulation states "no player shall be drawn against a fellow national in the first round unless this cannot be avoided".
India enjoys a significant clout in the administration of world squash with N Ramachandran being the president of world body WSF and patron of the ASF. He is also the Indian Olympic Association president.

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