Ashwini confident of bagging an Olympic medal in Tokyo

The ace shuttler said she is pleased with the way doubles specialist coach Kim Tan Her has been working for long hours at Gopi Chand Academy.

Ashwini Ponnappa (left) and doubles partner N. Sikki Reddy at the Asian Games 2018.   -  PTI

India’s premier women’s doubles shuttler, Ashwini Ponnappa, says that a lot more girls are taking up doubles in badminton after she and Jwala Gutta had become the first-ever India duo to win the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold in Delhi.

“Yes, I do believe that gold had a huge impact on the women’s doubles in India and I am glad with the way the performances are improving in recent times. No doubt, we still have a long way to go,” Ashwini said on the sidelines after formally launching the first-ever Red Bull Shuttle Up exclusive women’s doubles badminton tournament (above 16 years) and to be played on a 11-point each game format here on Wednesday.

The event will be playing in five cities with the first one starting in Delhi from October 5 and the Hyderabad-leg on October 14. The winning pairs from each City will get a chance to play against Ashwini and her partner.

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“Well, the efforts are well and truly on to win an Olympic medal in 2020 Tokyo edition and we are pleased with the way our doubles specialist coach Kim Tan Her has been working for long hours at Gopi Academy,” she said.

“Honestly, doubles is very close to my heart and I love the game and I do believe given the kind of planning and exposure to international tournaments over the next two years, I am confident of winning an Olympic medal,” the 27-year-old shuttler said.

“Definitely, doubles needs more motivation and improved support to take it on par with the singles achievers. The critics should remember that we (doubles players) have been doing exceptionally well, given the fact that we won the 2011 World championship bronze which happened to be the only second one ever for the country,” Ashwini said.

“Now, it is the doubles coach who decides the combination. I am happy with the way I have been playing with my partners (N. Sikki Reddy in women’s doubles and R. Satwiksairaj in mixed doubles),” she she said to a query.

“Well, you have to trust your coach since he knows what is best for you. Frankly, we have been working really hard to take our performances to the next level in the coming months,” Ashwini said.