Ashwini Ponnappa has had a decent outing in the recently concluded Sudirman Cup, where she helped India reach the quarter finals with her superior showing in the doubles. She paired up with the rookie Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in the mixed doubles and N Sikki Reddy in the women’s doubles event.
The Sudirman Cup was held in Gold Coast, the same place that’ll be hosting the Commonwealth games next year.
“We are looking forward to the next tournament, doing better than what we have done. If we can reach a final of super series this year, that will be good and definitely winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games will be one of the important targets,” Ashwini said.
Speaking about the Sudirman Cup, Ponnappa said “”Ever since we came to know about the draw, I was confident we were good enough to beat them. Most of the players in the opposition team had top 5 players and when I knew I will have to play two matches, I had the belief that we could do well.
“Me and Satwik were training together just a few weeks ahead of the event as we had sent our entry for the Australian Open. So when we got a chance to play at the Sudirman Cup, we were excited as it was our first tournament together.”
Ponnappa has excelled as a doubles player, especially in her partnership with Gutta, where both these players complimented each other through and through, winning medals at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games and also winning a bronze at the World Championship.
With Gutta contemplating retirement, Gutta has admirably slotted into the senior player role, mentoring the youngsters and guiding them during crunch match situations.
“Coaches have been the ones who have been deciding my partners after the Olympics and it is about trusting them. Me and Sumeeth had a good partnership. We are both similar players, we have played women’s doubles and men’s doubles respectively and now we are venturing into mixed doubles,” Ashwini said.
“Satwik is a strong kid and he has been playing mixed doubles since his junior days. Playing with him is different, it is a different role all together and it is fun.
“So I am looking forward to the new partnership. Interestingly, I will be playing with Sumeeth at Indonesia and Satwik at Australia, so let’s see how it goes. After playing at the Sudirman Cup, I feel we can achieve much better results together,” she added.