CWG 2022: Ponappa-Sumeet upbeat about India’s mixed badminton medal chances in Birmingham

CWG 2022: Ashwini Ponnappa and Sumeeth Reddy will be vying for India’s first mixed badminton medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

FILE PHOTO: Ashwini Ponappa and Sumeeth Reddy.

FILE PHOTO: Ashwini Ponappa and Sumeeth Reddy. | Photo Credit: PTI

CWG 2022: Ashwini Ponnappa and Sumeeth Reddy will be vying for India’s first mixed badminton medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Ashwini Ponnappa, the most experienced member of the Commonwealth Games-bound Indian badminton squad, says that she is all geared up for the big challenge and determined to win a medal.

“The preparations have been good as we got some really quality sessions and we both (she and her mixed doubles partner Sumeeth Reddy) are looking forward to a memorable outing in Birmingham,” Ashwini informed Sportstar.

“For me, these Games are different as I am in the team as a mixed doubles player. We are going to give our best for sure,” she said.

“Since India has never won a mixed doubles medal in the CWG, it will be awesome if we can pull off one. I enjoy playing with Sumeeth though we don’t play the conventional mixed doubles but we have got our own unique way of gelling well on the court,” 32-year-old Ashwini said.

“We believe we can be very effective with our own style and approach,” she added.

“To be frank, Sumeeth is fast, agile and has good half-smashes. For me, one of his strong points is his never-give-up attitude which is very important at any level,” she said. “We are disciplined and are mentally tough. These things should help us a long way,” she added.

On the areas to improve, Ashwini said she was working on a strong serve, return and a third shot.

Ashwini felt that she has had some pretty consistent partnerships with one of the high-points being the World championship women’s doubles bronze partnering G. Jwala.

“Only last year, I experimented in mixed doubles with different partners. But, my strong points are I can hold on my own while defending. I’ve gotten better at the net and of course my smashes are helpful in mixed doubles too,” Ashwini explained.

“Combinations from Singapore, Malaysia and England can pose a serious challenge,” she said.

For his part, Sumeeth, who warded off serious health issues recently, felt they were ready for whatever comes across in the Games.

“Yes, there is a feeling to win badly at this level. I believe we are going in the right direction,” he said. “Well, Ashwini has a lot of strong points and the good part is we can play different styles even while focussing on how to implement the game plan and try to get better each day,” 30-year-old Sumeeth said.

“I always challenge myself to give my best. I am always open to listening to what my partners say for better results. I believe attitude and grit are the key for big wins,” he concluded.

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