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Doubles the way for Ashwini Ponnappa

Posted September 27th, 2018, 10:21 AM IST

Doubles the way for Ashwini Ponnappa

Hyderabad: Ace shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa is gung-ho about an exclusive women’s doubles tournament, the first ever, that will commence from October 5 and will be played across various cities in India.

Red Bull Shuttle Up will be played in Delhi (October 5), Bengaluru (October 7), Guwahati (October 13), Mumbai (October 20) and Hyderabad (October 14). “I have been dreaming of something like this. I have spoken about women’s doubles needing motivation and encouragement. I do hope that with this tournament we do get a lot of doubles players coming out there and enjoying themselves,” she said after announcing the tournament on Wednesday.

She believes the tournament will encourage young players to participate in doubles competition. “We are encouraging young girls to take up the event. It is quite often that the young girls want to take up singles but I would like to make them believe that they can take up women’s doubles and do well,” Ashwini said.

The doubles specialist also spoke of her experiences on the badminton circuit this year, about her coach Tan Kim Her and how it feels to be the senior most player in the team.

“I am happy at the way we have performed at the Commonwealth Games. Asian Games could have been better. We reached the quarters which was the first. Personally, I am happy that we won a medal at the CWG,” she said

“I am happy that the team won a gold that was a proud moment not just for me but for the entire team. I loved how the team got together... from the support staff, coaches to the players. It’s probably one of the best feelings I have being a part of this team. I respect everyone in the team and we work together,” she added.

She also spoke of her transition in the team after Jwala Gutta’s departure from the circuit. “From being one of the youngest in 2010 to the eldest in the team now, it is funny. I think that the entire team is quite experienced. In doubles, I have much more experience than my partners but they have their mind in place, so it becomes easier for me with them. When Jwala was there in 2010, I was the rookie and I did not know anything. These guys have experience and they do not need to start from scratch,” she said.

Ashwini also feels that having a specialist doubles coach in Tan Kim Her has helped the team a lot. “He is looking at doubles in particular. He wants to make doubles players do well. His attention makes a huge difference. There are a lot of new partnerships that were formed after he came in. He broke broke the older partnerships and formed new ones. None of us were happy back then but it is nice to see that those partnerships have done well,” she expressed.

However, Ashwini feels the teams need more coaches in order to get better training. “Tan is the only one in seniors so it is really tough for him to focus on everyone who is in the national camp. It is important to get more coaches so that the entire pool can be looked after,” she said.