Ashwini Ponnappa bats for more women doubles events
Commonwealth Games medallist Ashwini Ponnappa on Wednesday lamented that women's doubles is not getting its due in India and stressed on the need to have more events in the category to encourage players.
"Where is the importance given towards women's doubles, there is no importance. What's the motivation given to them? I think Premier Badminton League (PBL) is a great format, but it is sad that they don't have women's doubles," Ashwini told reporters here.
"We need a lot of women's doubles events. I feel a lot of badminton events are trying to neglect women's doubles and that needs to change. Because either if it's on a recreational level or in the professional level, in India we need to include women's doubles in order to motivate them.
"Singles have always been number one, but there are girls who are eager to play doubles as well. We just need to push them and encourage," said Ashwini, who along with her partner Sikki Reddy attended the finals of the Red Bull Shuttle Up - a women's doubles tournament --- in suburban Kurla.
Ashwini had won a World Championship bronze in 2011 and a gold and silver at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games respectively with her earlier partner Jwala Gutta.
The 29-year-old Bengaluru-born player now partners Sikki after she and Jwala decided to part ways following the 2016 Rio Olympics.
On her partnership with Sikki, Ashwini said it was getting better.
"Right now we have the China Open, Hong Kong Open and the Lucknow Open. The competition is really getting better with a lot of good pairs and Sikki and I are there as well.
"We are getting better, though we do train for mix-doubles, but our idea towards our game in particular is getting better because we know what we need to do and which is helping. Our understanding and co-ordination on court is getting better. I am sure a lot of good things are going to come in the future," added Ponnappa.
Ashwini and Sikki caused a massive upset in the recent Denmark Open ousting seventh seed Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan of South Korea to make the quarterfinals. But their fine run came to an end against top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in the last eighth.
Ashwini said that their win against the Korean pair in the Denmark Open gave them a lot of confidence.
"Both of us had a great start to the year. We had some great matches and the last tournament in Denmark was really good where we beat the Korean pair, who had won the Denmark Open previous year. That has given lot of confidence," she said.
Ponnappa praised her partner Sikki terming her gusty and go-getter.
"Sikki is extremely gutsy and she is go-getter, which is something I admire about her. We are working very hard and we want to win. It's nice to have a partner, who also believes in herself and believe in us doing well," Ponnappa signed off.
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