Need doubles coaches at grassroots level: Ashwini Ponnappa

Need doubles coaches at grassroots level: Ashwini PonnappaAshwini Ponnappa

New Delhi: Experienced shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa said in order to improve the standards of Indian doubles teams, academy coaches should pay attention to every format rather than focusing solely on singles.

Ashwini, who lost in the women's doubles quarter-finals at the Asian Games, where she had paired up with N Sikki Reddy, said the country still needs specialised doubles coaches at the grassroots levels.

"I think there is a need for doubles coaches at the grassroots level. Most coaches at academies focus on singles training. Having a mix of both singles training and doubles training at a young age will definitely help," Ashwini told IANS.

Ashwini, who won women's doubles gold with Jwala Gutta at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, also asserted that Indian players are smarter on court as compared to their counterparts from top nations in Asia and Europe.

"I would say our mind. We are smart on court. Having said that strength and speed is an important factor, which is something a lot of players lack which makes it difficult to match players from Asia. The Europeans are very good strategically. They play smart and to their advantage," Ashwini, a Red Bull athlete, said.

Ashwini also said that the Asian Games are more competitive than the Commonwealth Games because top teams like China, Japan, South Korea and others participate in the continental event.

"At the international level there are no easy games as every team has players of international quality. But yes, the Asian Games are more competitive than the Commonwealth Games as top badminton nations like China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Thailand are a part of it," she added.

IANS