Feels great to go back to Wembley Arena where we have succeeded in the past, says Ashwini Ponappa

New Delhi: The Wembley Arena, the venue for badminton event at the upcoming London Olympics has been lucky for Ashwini Ponnapa and Jwala Gutta as they won the World Championships bronze there last year and Ashwini feels that going back to the Arena for the Games would help their endeavor a lot.

“It does feel great to go back to a venue where you have succeeded in the past. The fact that we had been there and performed well would help us a lot. We are aware of the courts which would make us comfortable. We hope to do better than what we did there the last time” said Ashwini.

Ashwini, who entered in partnership with Jwala Gutta, has come a long way from being junior four years back and believes that they have a very good chance at the biggest sporting extravaganza of all. “We have a very bright chance and feel very confident. We do have a realistic chance of winning a medal,” added the 23 year old shuttler.

"We have been practicing hard every morning and evening under Syed Mohammed Arif sir at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Indoor Stadium and Edwin Iriawa). Arif sir is very patient and Edwin has also been pushing us hard and we believe we have the capability to win a medal at the Games. We know we can do it and we are focusing on the job but it is a process and we have to go through that, we really want to come back with a medal."

Talking about the areas they are working on, she said, "I am working on my drops and strokes from the back and court movement, while Jwala has been putting a lot of hard work on her fitness. She has been dieting and lost a lot of weight.”

“Jwala is taking her fitness regime very seriously as she needs to be very fit because she would be taking part in two events which is not very easy and would require lot of endurance.”

It has been three years since Jwala and Ashwini paired up as a team and they have already won the Commonwealth Games gold and Bronze in World in World Championship.

On being asked what makes the partnership so strong, she said, “It is the understanding that we share. Jwala brings in so much positivity and which keeps us confident of any big tournament. The thing is that even though is so senior to me she always would listen to me if I have a point to make and it is the mutual relation between us that helps us gel so well.”

Saina Nehwal is synonymous to Indian badminton and on being asked whether that affects their morale, she denied it and said, “It actually does not matter. We have our aim set and really looking forward to it. We will perform to best of our capabilities and win a medal for the country.”

By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
Indian Sports News Network

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