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‘Ashwini training separately won’t affect our Olympic goal’

A well oiled machine: Sikki Reddy, right, believes a few practice sessions with partner Ashwini Ponnappa is all it will take for the pair to be back in business.

A well oiled machine: Sikki Reddy, right, believes a few practice sessions with partner Ashwini Ponnappa is all it will take for the pair to be back in business.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The women’s duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy will not be training together in Hyderabad. But Sikki feels the duo can continue to stay focussed to realise the long-term goal of making it big at the Olympics.

Ashwini, a World Championship bronze medallist in women’s doubles, has preferred to train in Bengaluru under coach U. Vimal Kumar. “Yes, Ashwini said she would be joining a few days before any major tournament so that we can train together. It is understandable given the current situation where travelling is not very welcome,” 26-year-old Sikki told The Hindu. “I don’t see it as an issue, though. It would have been better if we trained together, but having played together for so long, it is only a question of a few practice sessions together to get us back as a formidable force,” she added.

Good draw

Sikki said the draw for the Thomas and the Uber Cups appeared good for the Indian team and that she hoped to put up a stand-out performance. The biennial international championship, scheduled for October, could be the first major event since March.

“I am not sure how the training schedule will be once it resumes at the Gopichand Academy. But safety will take precedence over everything. This being the Olympic qualification year, we are motivated to chase a specific target – to be there in Tokyo [next July].

“Right now, under the frozen world rankings, Ashwini and I are ranked No. 26. But, we have a long way to go and hope to make the cut by doing well in the run-up to the Olympics.”

The doubles specialist said she was consistently working to be a better player skill-wise, train smartly and understand the rotations better.

“Importantly, I am in touch with Ashwini through video chats to sort out any issue in my game. She is helpful as always and being a senior her inputs are invaluable.”

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 9:54:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/ashwini-training-separately-wont-affect-our-olympic-goal-says-sikki-reddy/article32288391.ece

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