India's leading squash players Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal and top paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal, who won medals in the just-concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, arrived in the city to a rousing welcome from officials and fans.
Sharath Kamal said the medals won at the Commonwealth Games would be a big confidence booster for the upcoming World Championships in Sweden. He had won a gold (in team event), a silver (in men's doubles with G Sathiyan) and a bronze (in men's singles).
"After winning three medals in Australia, I am quite confident to perform well at the World Championships at Sweden in this month end," the 35-year-old table tennis player told reporters on his arrival.
He said his next target was to reach the top 30 in world rankings.
"My current world ranking is No. 48 and with the points gained in the Games I will be going up a few places in the rankings. Playing in the World Championships, my next goal is to reach the world top 30," he added.
The ace paddler said the Indian players were able to showcase their talent at the world level because of the exposure gained at the Ultimate Table Tennis League.
"We are able to showcase our talents at the international level. The IPL-styled Ultimate Table Tennis League has given all our Indian players an opportunity to equally compete with international players," he said.
Sharath Kamal said he was happy to receive a grand reception at the airport here.
"I am very happy to get such a grand reception from my people. Table Tennis is becoming quite popular in India. The SDAT, SAI and TTFI have been doing a great job to promote Table Tennis," he added.
The experienced paddler had won two gold medals in the 2006 Commonwealth in Melbourne. He subsequently won a gold and two bronze medals in the 2010 Delhi Games and followed it up with a silver at the Glasgow Games in 2014. He has so far won a total of nine medals at the Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile, Joshna and Dipika returned to the city to an enthusiastic welcome late last night.
They had to settle for a silver in the women's doubles competition while Dipika also won a silver in the mixed doubles in the company of Saurav Ghosal.
The duo expressed happiness that they could help squash contribute to India's overall medals tally. They were also proud of India's overall achievements at the Games.
As defending champions, the thought of the past glory did come to the mind, said Chinappa, who had won a gold medal in the Glasgow Games in 2014 (along with Pallikal).
"Four years since, much has happened in squash. We were there on the podium then and the goal was not to miss that moment again. To that extent it was satisfactory finsh," she said.
Chinappa said overall it was exciting time for Indian squash and particularly underscored the support of the government, the SRFI and the team officials.
"We are encouraged to work harder for next big challenge, the Asian Games in August," she added.
Pallikal said the big satisfaction was that they had not come back empty handed. The duo felt refereeing could have been better at the Games.
"After the final, even the New Zealand players agreed with us in this matter," Chinappa said.
Despite arriving at a late hour, the returning squash players were pleasantly surprised at the enthusiastic welcome.
"We are more than surprised at this reception," said Chinappa.
Poncha told PTI that overall it was an excellent performance to win two medals, adding "one more step and a gold, it could have been fabulous".
"Overall, it was an excellent performance by the players. It is good for Indian squash and the country. Given the circumstances, we have done well."
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had yesterday announced cash incentives for medal winners including Joshna (Rs 30 lakh), Dipika (Rs 60 lakh) and Ghosal (Rs 30 lakh).
Also, Sharath Kamal (bronze in men's singles and silver in men's doubles) and G Sathiyan (silver in men's doubles and bronze in mixed doubles) would receive the cash incentives, he had announced.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)