Ashwini Ponnappa to skip Nationals for want of partners

With her usual partners, N. Sikki Reddy and R. Satwiksairaj unavailable, Ashwini Ponnappa has decided to skip the senior national badminton championship to be held in Guwahati.

“I thought there is no point in playing there with a new partner. That would mean starting from scratch, which I wanted to avoid at this stage,” said Ashwini Ponnappa.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

India’s premier women’s doubles shuttler, Ashwini Ponnappa, will miss the Guwahati Senior national badminton championship for want of partners!

The 29-year-old Ashwini informed Sportstar on Friday that since her regular women’s doubles partner N. Sikki Reddy is busy with her marriage preparations and the mixed doubles partner R. Satwiksairaj is injured, she has chosen to skip the nationals.

“I thought there is no point in playing there with a new partner. For, that would mean, starting from the scratch which I wanted to avoid at this stage,” said Ashwini after another grinding schedule under the mentorship of doubles specialist coach Kim Tan Her at the Gopi Academy here.

“It is obviously disappointing and unfortunate to miss the Nationals which otherwise I would have loved to take part,” said the former World championship women’s doubles bronze medallist (partnering G. Jwala).

“Now, I would love to focus on my training which I am really enjoying. I know what areas I have to work on to keep improving,” she added.

She also noted that she had to be selective with her schedule going ahead.“This being the Olympics qualification year, the challenges are bound to be different especially with the kind of schedule ahead. We have to be selective and consistent too to keep improving our world rankings.”

“The biggest challenge is to get into the rhythm and find the winning ways as early as possible to have a much better year,” she continued.

“I am pretty determined to do well . As always, will give my best. All we have to do is to prepare well,” said the Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

Talking about doubles specialist coach Kim, she said, “It is always good to have a doubles specialist coach. He understands how doubles works and what kind of training we need.”

“There is lot of support now from different quarters including the ONGC, Olympic Gold Quest, TOPS Scheme,” signed off Ashwini.