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Ashwini moves on, finds new doubles partner in Gadre
Anamika Nandedkar, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, September 29, 2012
First Published: 23:45 IST(29/9/2012)
Last Updated: 01:48 IST(30/9/2012)

Doubles pairings are undergoing an overhaul, and this includes India's top women's duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa.

With Gutta taking an 'indefinite break' from badminton, Ashwini has decided to partner Pradnya Gadre in international tournaments.

Pradnya, 21, was partnering Prajakta Sawant and are the reigning national champions. They are ranked 38th while Jwala-Ashwini had reached No 17 after the London Olympics.

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Last month, Prajakta and Pradnya parted ways after the former decided to move from the Gopi Chand Academy in Hyderabad to Mumbai.

Start 'from scratch'
Ashwini, 23, came into the spotlight after she was picked to partner Jwala four years ago. She admits that she would have to start from scratch with Pradnya and it would take them time to climb the rankings. "We will have to give this partnership time, we cannot judge how we will perform just on the basis of two or three tournaments," said Ashwini after losing the doubles match with Petroleum Sports Promotion Board teammate Prajakta in the team final of the Senior National Badminton Championship.

"Pradnya is good at the net, so it will be ideal for us," she explained. "She also has a lot of international exposure. We will be playing three tournaments in November.

"Though I will participate in two tournaments next month, it will be in mixed doubles with Tarun Kona."

Ashwini, who lives in Hyderabad, is also having to adjust to some major changes in her personal life, as her parents are moving back to Bangalore.

'Bright future'
After the London Olympics, chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand had pointed to a split, saying that the 29-year-old Jwala would have to take it one year at a time, while he saw a bright future for Ashwini at the Rio Olympics.

The two won bronze at the World Championship in 2011 and created history by becoming the first pair from India to qualify for the Olympics this year.

PSPB dominate
PSPB continued their dominance in the team events, winning the Rahimatoola Cup (men's) and Chadha Cup (women's) title for the 14th consecutive year.

Boasting of some of India's best players, the PSPB men thrashed Air India 3-1 while the women had to sweat it out against the Airport Authority of India before pocketing the title 2-1.


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