Killer pair

JWALA GUTTA, 28, AND ASH­WINI PON­NAPPA, 22, Bad­minton Play­ers

India Today - - SIMPLY HYDERABAD -

“Be­sides play­ing part­ners, we’re good friends too. Spend­ing time in­for­mally (we both love shop­ping) helps us un­der­stand each other’s per­son­al­i­ties bet­ter.

It ul­ti­mately ben­e­fits our game.” Jwalagutta

The win­ning com­bi­na­tion of the ag­gres­sive Jwala Gutta and me­thod­i­cal Ash­wini Pon­nappa is turn­ing out to be one of the most hap­pen­ing part­ner­ships in In­dian bad­minton his­tory. The gold win at the 2010 Com­mon­wealth Games was a per­fect ex­am­ple of their chem­istry. “That vic­tory will al­ways re­main spe­cial for us,” says Gutta who part­nered with Pon­nappa for the Women’s Dou­bles in the Bad­minton World Cham­pi­onships ear­lier this year. “Our rank­ing was close to 20 but we went on to win a bronze,” adds Gutta

DOU­BLE DOSE Pon­nappa, who moved to Hy­der­abad from Ban­ga­lore three years ago, looks up to the more ex­pe­ri­enced Gutta. They are work­ing on greater con­sis­tency in their game to­gether, in the run up to the 2012 Olympics. “Jwala’s ap­proach is quite hard line, while I’m the milder one,” says Pon­nappa. “Col­lec­tively, it works won­ders to beat the op­po­nent.” The right hand (Pon­nappa) left hand (Gutta) com­bi­na­tion too works greatly to their ad­van­tage. The bad­minton pair they ad­mire the most is the world num­ber one, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang,who have won 10 out of 12 tour­na­ments. “They make no mis­takes,” says Jwala. Con­tact: www.face­book.com/ash­winipon­nappa-jwalaGutta

sec­ond opinion

“The pair of Jwala and Ash­wini is an as­set for the na­tion. Go­ing by the way they have been per­form­ing, I firmly be­lieve that they have the ca­pac­ity to

bring home a medal in the forth­com­ing Olympics.”

S M ARIF, SE­NIOR BAD­MINTON COACH AND DRONACHARYA AWARD RE­CIP­I­ENT

SRINI­VAS

Jwala Gutta (left) and Ash­wini Pon­nappa

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