Ashwini Ponnappa is the champion of the badminton team: GopiApril 19, 2018, Hyderabad
Hyderabad: It’s rare for a coach to pick a player and credit her for success in a team event. But Pullela Gopichand, chief coach of the Indian team, did just that when he heaped praise on Ashwini Ponnappa.
Lauding Ashwini’s contribution to India’s first CWG gold in the mixed team event, Gopi said: “The way she played throughout the 10 days, giving her best always, playing four matches per day was phenomenal. For me she is the champion of the tournament. Ashwini’s superb game in the first match of the final against Malaysia was the key to winning gold. Hats off to Ashwini.
“Satwik, Sikki and Chirag have also been quite good. For me winning team gold is the most memorable moment. In the entire history of CWG only Malaysia and England have won team gold. Team gold was not something we dreamt of,’’ Gopi added Even Saina Nehwal was all praise for the doubles teams. “The way they played was quite impressive. I was watching them play, they were picking every shuttle and I was wondering, they returned this shuttle also,” Saina said, adding that winning team gold was more satisfactory for her.
“For me, it was not the individual gold that mattered much, but the team championship,” she added.
PV Sindhu said she enjoyed being part of the team that won gold. “Even though I didn’t play, I enjoyed being part of that team. Though disappointed, I am also happy with the silver in singles. Last time I won bronze and this time silver. Hopefully, it’ll be gold next time,” Sindhu added. World No.1 Kidambi Srikanth said: “Winning the team gold was a huge moment for all of us. Two days after that I became No.1 in the world. I definitely will not forget that moment. Reaching there is one side of the coin, to be able to be there is the ultimate challenge for me. For that I really need to work hard and be consistent,” Srikanth said.
Saina acknowledged the support of Parupalli Kashyap in her triumph. “I was talking to Kashyap before the match against Sindhu. I was telling him that I was very tired after the three-game semifinal against Kirsty Gilmour. He motivated me and said that I should look at better options, to fight it out and get the job done. I think that support from friends means a lot,” said Saina.