Badminton

Indian doubles on the right track but needs time to develop: Ashwini Ponnappa

The seasoned shuttler won both the mixed doubles and women’s doubles trophy at the senior National Championship.

Seasoned shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa is impressed with the progress made by India’s doubles players on the pro circuit but says they will take some time to develop into world beaters.

Of late, doubles players have produced some good results with new pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Sen entering the quarterfinals in Super Series tournaments in Korea and France and mixed combo of Pranaav Chopra and N Sikki Reddy reaching the semifinals at Japan Open.

“I think doubles is on the right track. But it will take time. Doubles takes time,” said Ashwini, who won two titles at the recently concluded Senior National Championship.

“Doubles have to train together, have to see how two players combine, while as a single player doesn’t have to go through so much change. But doubles are on right track, Chirag and Satwik are doing well, Pranaav and Sikki doing well. It gives confidence and motivates all the players,” she added.

It was double delight for Ashwini as she won the mixed doubles title with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and women’s doubles trophy with N Sikki Reddy.

“It feels good [to win]. For a long time not all the top players were playing. This time we had all playing, so it was one of a kind Nationals. For me, it was special because I had never won a mixed doubles title before,” Ashwini said.

“I won women’s doubles with Jwala [Gutta] in the past but I never had a mixed doubles partner, so it was a first for me and it really felt good especially because Sikki and Pranaav are more experienced than we are right now.

“They are in good shape, they had some good results in last one year, so it was a confidence booster. It was a National which everyone wanted to win since all top players were there and it was nicely hosted,” added Ashwini, who had bagged the women’s title twice with Jwala in 2009 and 2013.

The 28-year-old from Bangalore is one of the most experienced doubles players in the country. She had won the 2011 World Championship bronze with Jwala and also bagged the Commonwealth Games gold and silver in the last two editions at New Delhi and Glasgow.

Ashwini is hoping to be third time lucky but reckoned it will be a challenge.

“I definitely want to go and win a medal again next year at the Commonwealth Games. I think it will be a big challenge for everyone because all will be coming to win,” she said.

“Every tournament we play from now will be a practice to work on our game and get some good results before the Commonwealth Games. I hope our performance will be better than the past,” Ashwini, who had earlier paired up with B Sumeeth Reddy and reached the finals at Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in January, said.

Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia from April 4 to 15 next year.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.