With Jwala Gutta on a sabbatical, one half of the World Championships bronze-medallist combo, Ashwini Ponnappa, has decided to pair up with young shuttler Pradnya Gadre in the women’s doubles competition.

Following her campaign at the London Olympics, Jwala had decided to go on a six-month break, prompting Ashwini to explore an alternative in the women’s doubles as she too has no clue when her partner will be back in action.

The 23-year-old Ashwini is currently focusing on her mixed doubles career and is playing with Tarun Kona in the 77th National Championship at the Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor stadium here.

“I don’t know when Jwala will be back. I hope it won’t be six months. For the time being, me and Pradnya have decided to play together. We will give it a shot for some time to find out if we can be a good pair,” Ashwini said.

Pradnya has been playing with Prajakta Sawant in women’s doubles but they decided to split last month.

“Prajakta wanted a better partner and so we decided to split. Me and Ashwini will have one month to train with each other. We will play in the China, Hong Kong and Macau in November,” said the 21-year-old Pradnya.

Ashwini said, “We would be playing three tournaments but it is not enough to come to a conclusion. So, I don’t know. Jwala has also been very supportive. So let’s see.”

The Bangalore girl will be playing in the Denmark and French Open next month along with Tarun.

Meanwhile, Jwala’s absence means her mixed doubles partner V Diju is also concentrating on his men’s doubles career.

The 31-year-old is currently playing with Alwin Francis of Kerela in the nationals.

“I will be playing in Bahrain International challenger and other small events for the time being. Once Jwala is back, I will resume my mixed doubles career,” he said.

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