Doubles specialists finally get their share of adulation

It was a rare instance in Indian badminton when the doubles combinations were in for handsome praise - right from chief coach P. Gopi Chand to the fellow star players like Saina, Sindhu and Srikanth.

Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, P.V. Sindhu , Ashwini Ponnappa, Sikki Reddy , H.S. Prannoy , Pranaav J.Chopra, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty pose for a photograph holding their Commonwealth Games medals during a press conference in Hyderabad on Tuesday.   -  Nagara Gopal

It was a rare instance in Indian badminton when the doubles combinations were in for handsome praise — right from chief coach P. Gopi Chand to the fellow star players like Saina, Sindhu and Srikanth.

And Ashwini Ponnappa was visibly delighted at Gopi Academy here on Tuesday to be part of the Indian team which won the historic mixed team gold in the just-concluded Commonwealth Games.

“The credit goes to the doubles coach Tan (Kim Tan Her) and Gopi sir for the way they planned the training sessions and also to my partners - Sikki Reddy in women’s doubles and Satwiksairaj in mixed doubles - for being so supportive in the team’s cause,” she said.

“Honestly, the medals in the CWG are unforgettable experience for me personally too. I only hope and sincerely wish this Indian team keeps winning many more team events like Thomas, Uber and the Sudirman Cups,” she said.

“It was terribly tiring for me to be out there playing day in and day out. But, the pride of representing India in the CWG was truly inspirational and that kept me going. By all means, these Games have been an unforgettable experience,” she said.

For their part, both Sairaj and Chirag Shetty also thanked Ashwini, the coaches and the support staff who helped them realise one of their dreams — to win a medal in the CWG. “We are all so excited to be there itself and then to win the medal is like dream come true,” they said.

“We were under real pressure in the men’s doubles final. That really got the better of us,” they said after becoming the first-ever Indian duo to win a men’s doubles medal in the CWG.