The Sports Ministry is set to include shuttlers Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa in the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme.
Indian shuttlers Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won the Canada Open women’s doubles title after upstaging the top-seeded Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek in the summit clash. This was Jwala and Ashwini’s first title since their reunion after the 2012 London Olympics. The third-seeded Indian pair triumphed 21-19 21-16 in the contest which lasted 35 minutes.
In a closely-contested opening game, Jwala and Ashwini broke away from the 19-19 and converted the lone game point opportunity to grab the initiative. The Indians dominated the second game and raced to a 5-0 lead before going from 10-6 to 15-6 up. However, Muskens and Piek fought back to win nine points straight up and tied the game at 15-15. But Jwala and Ashwini did not let the advantage slip and won 6 of the next 7 points to clinch the title.
They reached the Semi finals of US Open Grand Prix Gold event in the beginning of June 2015.
The Badminton enthusiasts were shocked by the allegation made by Jwala Gutta regarding their selection for Target Olympic Podium scheme. She had accused the National coach Pullela Gopichand, of bias by the top women’s doubles pair.
The SAI director gave a lengthy statement defending national coach Pullelia Gopichand 2 weeks ago. After a long silence Gopichand also gave a statement rejecting about the allegation 2 days ago.
Keeping aside the controversies apart the consideration by Sports ministry for including this pair for TOPS scheme is highly commendable.
No doubt there are best doubles pair in Indian women’s badminton with a global ranking of number 13. Their performance in recent months raises hopes of medal winning chances in Rio Olympics. However they need to continue to bulid their stamina especially in the matches that get extended to 3rd game.