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Jwala and Ashwini confident

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G. Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa, gold medallists in the women’s doubles at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, are the best bet for India in this category at the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow.

“Well, things have changed a lot. After winning that gold, we are more mature, confident and experienced. We hope to come back with a medal, and it will be great if we can retain the gold,” said Jwala in an exclusive chat with The Hindu before leaving for Scotland on Friday.

“We have been training really hard and preparations for the CWG have been good. Jwala and I focused on our strengths and we hope to peak at the right time,” said Jwala’s partner Ashwini.

“Being defending champion is good. We know what we are capable of and we hope to live up to the expectations.”

The duo had also won the 2011 World championship bronze.

“At this level, you cannot underestimate any player or combination. You have to be at your best to win a medal,” said Ashwini.

Her partner feels that the doubles combinations of England, Australia and Singapore are very good and can pose a stiff challenge.

Long-term goals

When asked how significant was the CWG for them in terms of long-term goals, Jwala said, “There is nothing like winning a gold in the CWG.

“This is a very significant and immediate target that we are aiming at. For a gold in Scotland should help us not only in terms of confidence but in setting bigger goals in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.”

Jwala said they were very aggressive. “I think our left and right combination unsettles many of our opponents. More importantly, we have a good understanding and both of us are attacking players. I don’t think any doubles combination is as aggressive as we are. And, we play with an Indian touch that makes us proud.”

Referring to Saina Nehwal’s withdrawal and the possible impact on Indian contingent, they preferred not to comment except that they were “shocked” by her decision.

Not demanding

On the hectic schedule ahead including the CWG, the World championship and the Asian Games over next two months, Jwala said that it was not as demanding as it looked.

On their chances in the CWG, Jwala and Ashwini said they were hoping for the best. “The recent Uber Cup bronze medal is a huge morale-booster for all of us. We intend, as always, to take it match by match. There can be no better feeling than to return with a gold,” said the beaming duo.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 1:05:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/jwala-and-ashwini-confident/article6229264.ece

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