How Ashwini Ponappa got the spotlight in the doubles game

The doubles magician has made her nation proud with multiple accolades in major tournaments.

Ashwini Ponappa in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)

A renowned name in Indian badminton circuit, Ashwini Ponnappa has been a reliable doubles player for several years in the country. Her pairing with Jwala Gutta has made for a deadly combination as the two have gone on to win several medals in the past. Ashwini’s good reading for the game along with her ability to keep a calm head under pressure makes her stay at the top of the game for long. Ponnappa maybe in her early 30s, but her hunger for medals and titles has not dimmed.

Started at a very young age, Ashwini showed immense talent from the early days of her career, winning multiple junior level titles. The gold medal which she won in mixed doubles and the team events at the 2010 South Asian Games announced her arrival at the international stage. However, it was in that year’s Commonwealth Games, the girl from Bengaluru attained her stardom.

Pairing with Jwala Gutta, Ashwini won the gold medal in women’s doubles event in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The duo made history by winning the first gold medal for India in the event. It was then the popularity of Gutta and Ponnappa’s partnership skyrocketed in the country. In no time the duo became household names.

It was a year later when they created history again. Ashwini and Gutta became the first Indian pair to guarantee a medal at the World Badminton Championships. They overcome the Indonesian pair of Vita Marrisa and Nadya Melati in a tightly fought clash to enter into the women’s doubles semifinal. Despite losing the semifinal, they secured a bronze medal.

Ashwini-Jwala’s telepathic connection

The chemistry between Ashwini and Jwala was the main reason behind their success. While Gutta was the more vocal of the two on the court, Ponnappa had the freedom to be herself. Jwala was solid at the net, while Ashwini was happy running around the court. With good movements, she was getting better at her role in the back-court.

The pair had a telepathic understanding as they swapped their positions with relative ease around the court. While one ventured forward, the other dropped back to provide cover. This understanding helped them win multiple awards, including the Silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 women’s doubles title in the Canada Open.

After a disappointing 2016 Rio Olympics, the pair stopped playing together. Ashwini started pairing with N. Sikki Reddy. With her new partner, Ashwini won the Bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Ponnappa also won the gold in the mixed team event of the same competition.

After a decade at the top of her games, Ashwini is showing no signs of slowing down. With atleast few more years left in her locker at the top level, Ashwini would be eager to continue the medal rush.



WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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