Revelling in the spotlight that has come with the Commonwealth Games women's doubles gold that she won partnering Jwala Gutta, rising badminton player Ashwini Ponnappa today said the success is a result of the sacrifices she has made in the past four years.
"It (the gold medal) means a lot to me. It shows how much we worked hard towards this. I am happy that our sacrifices in the last four years have paid off. I am happy that Jwala and me managed to pull off the gold," Ponnappa said in an interview.
Apart from celebrating her triumph, the 21-year-old is busy preparing for next month's Asian Games in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, where she expects the competition to be a lot tougher than what she faced at the just-concluded Commonwealth Games.
"I am looking forward to do well in the Asian Games, though it is going to be lot tougher than Commonwealth Games. As I told you, we have done well against top Asian players. We just keep our head on our shoulders, work hard and take each match at a time and things will work," she said.
"No special strategy. Basically going on to the court and giving our best. Keeping cool and calm, taking one point at a time rather than the end of the match," she said.
Ponnappa said having the CWG at home ensured that her and Jwala's performance got the media coverage it deserved.
"May be, the media was not aware of us. It's not like we have not done well earlier. We have done well against a lot of top players. We stretched the world number ones, we beat the Japanese. The fact that Commonwealth Games was in India, lot of Indians got to watch us play and they got to see who we were," she said.
Ponnappa said the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games has boosted her confidence and motivated her to do better in the future.
"It's marvellous and it is going to boost my confidence and I am looking forward to do even better," she said.
Ponnappa won the Indian Junior Championship in 2001 and also won the gold medal at the South Asian Games held in 2006.