Ashwini Ponnappa and Vladimir Ivanov, who have teamed up for mixed doubles events, talk to RIR about their badminton partnership and the upcoming Denmark Open.
Indian women’s doubles badminton player Ashwini Ponnappa and Russian multi-format men’s player Vladimir Ivanov have partnered for mixed doubles events sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation. They would be seen in action together at the upcoming Denmark Open Super Series.
Both Ponnappa and Ivanov have established credibility in women’s and men’s doubles events, respectively. Ponnappa is the current Commonwealth Games silver medalist in women’s doubles. Ivanov has been riding on a winning streak in men’s doubles along with his partner Ivan Sozonov. They are the reigning European Champions.
However an ideal mixed doubles partnership has eluded them till now. Given their shared aspiration to do well in the mixed doubles format, this partnership could be their best shot. “My career began with singles matches and then I also started playing doubles,” Ivanov says. “It’s really hard to compete in both the formats simultaneously at the top most level. I am good enough at doubles, but I haven’t had a strong mixed doubles partner for the international circuit. Now I have this chance and I hope this partnership will be good for my career. It could also help me balance my efforts towards singles and doubles categories.”
Ponnappa also believes that their ambitions can be aligned. “I want to focus on mixed doubles some more. I was looking for someone outside the country,” she says. “I had seen Ivanov play at the Indian Badminton League and I think he did really well. He was also looking for a mixed doubles partner.”
Ivanov caught the fancy of badminton followers during the inaugural edition of the Indian Badminton League (IBL). He achieved an upset by defeating the Indian star P Kashyap in men’s singles and also contributed some significant doubles wins for his team.
This Indo-Russian team has got the nod of the governing authorities of both the countries. “In badminton, the associations play an active role and help their players a lot,” Ponnappa says. “That is why it was important for us that the Indian and Russian badminton associations approve of our team. Fortunately and thankfully we’ve got their support.”
In this sport, players mostly travel as national teams. Unlike tennis, it is hard to find a precedent of international pairing in badminton. The only other such team is that of Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria and Imogene Bankier of Scotland who participated at the World Championships earlier this year. With prominent players such as Ponnappa and Ivanov teaming up, international collaborations will surely gain popularity. It would also create participation opportunities for players from those countries where badminton is not played extensively.
The foremost challenge in this arrangement is that of geographic distance. Ponnappa and Ivanov are ready to deal with it. “We haven’t played together as yet,” Ivanov reveals. “It is difficult to draw any conclusion at the moment. But I think it will work out for us. I’ve watched her play and I can say that we have a similar approach in mixed doubles. The key here is to be clear about what each player has to do in each game.”
Ponnappa is also positive about their teamwork. “We are both experienced in playing doubles. I believe that it won’t be a major problem for us to coordinate with each other. We’ll have a few days to practice before the Denmark Open and we’ll take it from there. I am sure our strategy will evolve with every game,” she says.
Both the players assert that the upcoming tournament wouldn’t be just a trial run. They plan to compete together in the French Super Series and the Bitburger Open events that follow the Denmark Open.
Ivanov has already established synergistic association with Indian badminton players owing to his experience at the IBL. “It is an exciting and charged atmosphere during the games and also among the teammates. This experience is really close to my heart,” he says. “This psychological comfort is important in our profession, that’s why besides expectations about winning in mixed doubles, I think our partnership will lead to an even stronger connect with the Indian players and fans.” Ivanov, who had to depend on a translator when he first arrived in India, now feels a certain affinity with the Indian badminton fraternity.
This Indo-Russian badminton partnership can be a game changer not just for Ponnappa and Ivanov, but also for the sport itself, provided that they manage to serve an ace.
source: http://www.in.rbth.com / Russia & India Report / Home> Culture> Sports / by Priyanka Gera, specially for RIR / October 05th, 2014
Robin Uthappa recorded 4000T20 career runs in the final match of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Bangalore on Saturday.
Uthappa became the sixth Indian to register 4000 runs in this format. Suresh Raina has scored 5000 runs in this format and is the only Indian to touch this figure. Overall, Chris Gayle has scored the most runs in the format.
The Karnataka batsman had a sublime IPL 2014 and also ended up as the highest run-getter in the tournament after which he was also selected in the Indian squad for the Bangladesh tour.
source: http://www.cricketcountry.com / The Cricket Country / Home> News / by Cricket Country Staff / October 04th, 2014
October 5th, 2014Sports
Smriti Mehra won the Hero-CGL Women’s Professional Golf Championship amidst tough weather conditions to clinch the third title of the season here Friday.
With a score of 8 over 78 on the last day, Smriti grabbed her second win in successive weeks. Delhi’s Vani Kapoor and the Kapurthala’s Gursimar Badwal finished tied second with an identical score of 224.
Smriti, who carded an impressive 2 under 68 in the second round, struggled with the conditions and holed four bogies in her front nine on the second, fourth, fifth and seventh.
She carded three more bogies on the 12th, 17th and 18th with a double bogey on the 10th. Her only birdie came on the 12th to finish with a total of 222.
Gursimar carded the day’s lowest score of 3 over 73. At one stage she looked set to force a play-off but a double bogey on the 18th pushed her to second spot.
She started off with an impressive front nine which included just one bogey on the third along with two birdies on the eighth and ninth. She carded two more bogies on the 11th and 15th to finish second with Order of Merit leader Vani.
Vani had an off day, starting with a double bogey on the first. She tried to make a comeback with a birdie on the second but faltered again to card two more double bogies on the third and fifth along with a bogie on the ninth and a birdie on the seventh.
She tried to control her game on the back nine but with three more bogies on the 10th, 12th and 14th, she finished with 8 over 78.
Kolkata’s Neha Tripathi finished fourth with 231. Her score of 6 over 76 on Friday included two double bogies, five bogies and two birdies.
Jaipur’s Pallavi Jain, Delhi’s Ankita Tiwana and Chandigarh’s Saaniya Sharma finished fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.
After the Rs.5 lakh event here, the caravan moves to Prestige Golfshire, Bangalore.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> Sports> Golf> Top Stories / IANS / September 19th, 2014
India continued their stranglehold in women’s 4x400m relay event in the Asian Games as its quartet ran a brilliant race to win the gold for the fourth time on the trot in Games record time in the 17th edition in Incheon on Thursday.
The quartet of Priyanka Panwar, Tintu Luka, Mandeep Kaur and M.R. Poovamma won an easy race in 3:28.68 to improve upon the earlier Games record of 3:29.02 which was also in the name of the gold-winning Indian team in 2010. This was the second gold for India from athletics after Seema Punia bagged the yellow metal in women’s discus throw.
Japan won the silver in 3:30.80 while China bagged the bronze in 3:32.02. The first lapper, Panwar was, however, lagging behind her Japanese counterpart but Luka, who won a silver in 800m race, ran a brilliant race to recover the loss ground for India.
India took a small lead after two laps before Mandeep widened the gap in the third lap after holding out a strong challenge from her Japanese counterpart. Poovamma, who won a bronze in 400m race, then anchored India to gold by blasting her way to the finishing line.
This was the fourth time India has bagged gold in women’s 4x400m relay in Asian Games as the country has been winning the event since the 2002 Busan Games.
Mandeep Kaur, who ran an impressive third leg was part of that gold-winning quartet in the 2010 Guangzhou Games.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Other Sports / PTI / Incheon – October 02nd, 2014
September 30th, 2014Sports
Athletics: Tamil Nadu and Kerala win the overall men’s and women’s team championships
Siddhant Thingalaya equalled his National record of 13.65 as he won the men’s 110 metres hurdles in the 18th Federation Cup athletics championships at the NIS Complex here on Tuesday.
Siddhant Thingalaya and M.R. Poovamma were adjudged the ‘best athletes’ of the championships. Tamil Nadu won the overall team championships ahead of Kerala. The teams won the men’s and women’s titles respectively.
In men’s triple jump, national record holder and Commonwealth Games medallist Arpinder Singh had no difficulty winning with his third jump of 16.70 in the final. Renjith Maheshwary could not fight, as he had a best of 16.43 on the last attempt, after efforts of 16.40 and 16.41.
Krishna Poonia risked an injured left knee to clinch the women’s discus gold with her last throw of 56.84 metres, more than three and a half metres ahead of World junior bronze medallist Navjeet Kaur Dhillon. After throws of 54.83, 55.38 and 55.49, the Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medallist stepped it up in the last throw.
In women’s 400m, M.R. Poovamma clocked 52.42, beating Priyanka Panwar for the gold.
In men’s hammer throw, Chandrodaya Narayan Singh of Uttar Pradesh won with his second throw of 67.84, to better his own mark of 67.78. Kamalpreet Singh, who holds the national record of 70.37, settled for the silver with his third throw of 66.78.
Sushmita Singha Roy won the heptathlon two points ahead of Bengal teammate Swapna Barman, with a score of 5402 points.
In the morning, Rahul Kumar Pal of Maharashtra sprinted past Laxmanan of Tamil Nadu for the gold in the 10,000 metres. He had focused on the event and thus enjoyed an advantage over the exhausted 5000m runners, including gold medallist Kheta Ram, who grabbed the bronze after having led for the most part.
In the women’s 10,000 metres, Asian Games gold medallist Preeja Sreedharan was a class apart, finishing at 34:27.94 beating Swati Gadhave by more than two minutes. Meanwhile, the jury reinstated the original results in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, after having disqualified Naveen of Haryana and Ashish of Assam for “pacing”.
The IAAF rules clearly state that any athlete “giving or receiving assistance” from within the area during an event should be warned by the referee and advised that he would be disqualified from that event if it was repeated. It further clarifies about “assistance” being from a “lapped” or “about to be lapped” athlete.
Arguing that that they were from different States, and that one would not assist the other, Naveen was conveniently reinstated champion, and Ashish labelled “DNF” (did not finish), having finished a lap short.
The results: Men: 200m: 1. Manikanda Arumugam 21.21; 2. Velayutham 21.83; 3. M.G. Joseph 21.87. 400m: 1. Kunhu Muhammed 46.40; 2. Arokia Rajiv 46.41; 3. Jibin Sebastian 47.28. 1500m: 1. Jinson Johnson 3:52.60; 2. Ravindra Rautela 3:53.09; 3. Sajeesh Joseph 3:53.38. 10000m: 1. Rahul Kumar Pal 30:04.77; 2. Laxmanan 30:05.20; 3. Kheta Ram 30:08.98. 3000m steeplechase: 1. Naveen 8:46.18; 2. Jaiveer 8:53.36; 3. Manju 8:54.43. 110m hurdles: 1. Siddhant Thingalaya 13.65 (ENR); 2. K. Prem Kumar 13.96; 3. Surrender 14.24. Triple jump: 1. Arpinder Singh 16.70; 2. Renjith Maheshwary 16.43; 3. Rakesh Babu 16.15. Hammer: 1. Chandrodaya Narayan Singh 67.84 (NMR, old 67.78); 2. Kamalpreet Singh 66.78; 3. Neeraj Kumar 66.71. 4x100m relay: 1. Tamil Nadu 40.96; 2. Kerala 41.08; 3. Maharashtra 41.18. 4x400m relay: 1. Navy 3:11.44; 2. Kerala 3:11.62; 3. Punjab 3:13.07.
Women: 200m: 1. Asha Roy 23.89; 2. Srabani Nanda 24.02; 3. Archana 24.94. 400m: 1. M.R. Poovamma 52.42; 2. Priyanka Panwar 53.40; 3. Debashree Majumdar 53.79. 1500m: 1. O.P. Jaisha 4:09.14; 2. Sini Markose 4:18.18; 3. Sushma Devi 4:20.43. 10000m: 1. Preeja Sreedharan 34:27.94; 2. Swati Gadhave 36:28.46; 3. Monika Athare 36:44.15. 100m hurdles: 1. M.M. Anchu 13.80; 2. Deepika 13.81; 3. K.V. Sajitha 13.86. Discus: 1. Krishna Poonia 56.84; 2. Navjeet Kaur Dhillon 53.26; 3. Praveen Kumari 46.65. Heptathlon: 1. Sushmita Singha Roy 5402; 2. Swapna Barman 5400; 3. Liksy Joseph 5351. 4x100m relay: 1. Kerala 46.47; 2. West Bengal 46.56; 3. Punjab 47.27. 4x400m relay: 1. ONGC 3:42.26 (NMR, old 3:42.70); 2. Kerala 3:45.96; 3. Haryana 3:48.50.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sport> Other Sports / by Kamesh Srinivasan / Patiala – August 19th, 2014
M R Poovamma bagged a bronze in women’s 400m race as India swelled their medal count from athletics competition to three at the Asian Games here on Sunday.
Poovamma clocked 52.36secs in the final race behind pre-match favourite Oluwakemi Adekoya (51.59secs) of Bahrain and Vietnam’s Thi Lan Quach (52.06secs) at the Inchon Asiad Main Stadium here.
24-year-old Poovamma, who was the second fastest off the block in the final today, could not touch her personal and season’s best of 51.73secs which she clocked at the National Inter-State Championships in Lucknow in June.
Thi Lan, the second worst off the block, overtook Poovamma to take the second place behind the Nigerian-born Bahrain runner, who is also the Asian season leader. The other Indian in the fray Mandeep Kaur finished sixth in the eight competitor field with a timing of 53.38 secs.
source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Sports> Other Sports / PTI / September 28th, 2014
Gold proved elusive but it was nonetheless a historic silver for the Indian women’s squash team after it went down to Malaysia in the final of the 17th Asian Games here on Saturday.
The team lost 0-2 to Malaysia to settle for the silver after Deepika Pallikal and Anaka Alankamony lost their matches in a contest which lasted a little over an hour. Alankamony opened the proceedings for India and did up some fight before going down 9-11 10-12 2-11 to Odette Arnold Delia in 43 minutes.
Next up was Dipika Pallikal, who once again came face to face against world number one Nicol David after losing the singles semifinal to her earlier this week.
The face off, however, did not yield a different result as Pallikal went down 7-11 6-11 3-11 in 29 minutes. Joshna Chinappa’s inconsequential final rubber did not take place after her rival Wee Wern Low withdrew from the contest.
The defeat notwithstanding, this will still be india’s best performance in the Asian Games squash competition as the men are also assured of at least a silver after reaching the final of the team competition.
Top singles player Saurav Ghosal has already added a historic silver to the medal list – a first in the Asian Games squash. Pallikal, on the other hand, had won a bronze medal in the women’s singles, also a first for Indian squash.
source: http://news.oneindia.in/ OneIndia.in / Home> News> Sports / PTI / Saturday – September 27th, 2014
Olympian BP Govinda was on Friday named chairman of Hockey India’s nine-member selection committee, which will start working from July 1.
The panel, which will be in office for a one-year tenure, was picked in the Hockey India Executive Board meeting held here. The selection committee will work jointly with the HI’s High Performance and Development Committee to identify fresh talent in the country.
Govinda represented the country twice in Olympics (1972 & 1976), two World Cups (1973 & 1975) and three Asian Games (1970, 1974 & 1978).
“The other members in the Selection Committee are Olympian Mr. Syed Ali (1964 Olympics), former international player Dr. R P Singh (World Cup in1986 & 1990), former Captain Mr. Gagan Ajit Singh (Olympics in 2000 & 2004), former Captain Mr. Arjun Halappa (Olympics in 2004 & Commonwealth Games in 2010), former Captain Ms. Savitri Purty (Asian Games in 1986), former Captain Ms. Mamta Kharab (Commonwealth Games in 2002 & 2006, Asia Cup in 2004), former Captain Ms. Surinder Kaur (Asia Cup in 2004) and former Captain Ms. Saba Anjum (Commonwealth Games 2002 & 2006, Asia Cup 2004 and Asian Games in 2002),” the HI said in a statement.
The newly-appointed Selection Committee will come into effect from July 1.
source: http://www.ibnlive.in.com / IBN Live / Home> Sports> Hockey / Press Trust of India / May 31st, 2013
September 25th, 2014Sports
India’s doubles exponent in women’s badminton, Ashwini Ponnappa was left without a partner here after Jwala Gutta pulled out and Tarun Kona’s name was not cleared by the Sports Ministry. Though she has resigned to this quirk of fate, after the Asian Games, she is set to try out a new partner to win medals in mixed doubles on the international circuit.
Ashwini is looking abroad for a partner in mixed doubles. She has decided to team up with Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov and the two would be playing from next month’s Denmark Super Series. However, the arrangement will be evaluated and future course sorted out after three more tournaments.
Ivanov has not played with the Indian but is a European champion in doubles. He plays for the Mumbai team in the Indian Badminton League, where they chalked out the plan to forge a partnership.
Ashwini was confident this would boost her chances of winning more medals in international events. With the aim of putting her mixed doubles career on track, she has the backing of the Badminton Association of India. “I’m pretty excited and hoping that the combination works out for us. I have been doing well in India but want to win bigger tournament like the All England and world championships.”
Ashwini has been partnering Tarun in the mixed and the combination’s ranking isNo 40 in the world. Their performances, however, have been under the scanner after they failed to do much on the biggest stage. Tarun’s name was not cleared for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow before this one.
Indian women lost 1-3 to South Korea in the team semifinals to settle for their maiden bronze medal. This was India’s first badminton medal since the men’s team bronze in 1986. Saina Nehwal beat World No 4 Sung Jihyun before PV Sindhu lost to No 6 Bae Yeonju. Pradnya Gadre-N Sikki Reddy and PC Thulasi were no match thereafter.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Sport / by Indraneel Das / September 22nd, 2014
September 14th, 2014Sports
She may be a Commonwealth gold medalist, but Ashwini Ponnappa is a humble girl, who attributes her success to parental support and good coaching, observes Hema Anand
Looking very pretty in a casual, blue, sleeveless dress, she warmly welcomed me into her apartment, with an even prettier smile. The moment I entered, the first thing that caught my attention was the hoard of trophies and medals displayed in the shelves of her living room.
Ashwini Ponnappa, the 25-year-old Bangalore girl has once again done the country proud by winning the silver medal, along with her partner Jwala Gutta, in the women’s doubles badminton event in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games at Glasgow; it is just another feather in her cap.
She has already won several medals for the country at international events, including the gold medal at the 2010 Common Wealth Games held in Delhi. She also holds the record for the hardest hitter of the shuttle in the world in women’s badminton; her overhead smash touched the speed of 260 kmph at the Paris World Championship in 2010!
Ask her how it all began and she reminisces, “As a three-year-old, I was a very restless and hyperactive kid. Once my mom gave me an old badminton racquet, made small paper balls, and flung them at me. I contacted them really well.”
Of course, at that time her mother had not thought that her little girl would grow up to become an ace badminton player and win laurels for the country.
Ashwini says, “As I grew a little older, I started playing badminton outside my house with family and friends. Seeing my love and passion for the sport, my parents sent me to summer camps at YMCA, at the tender age of eight and then to coaching classes at the State Youth Centre. There, I trained under a wonderful coach, Umapathi, who helped me get the basics of the game right. Unfortunately, he passed away, and so, I joined the Prakash Padukone Academy, where I continued my coaching for six-seven years under three coaches – Prakash Padukone, U Vimal Kumar and VR Beedu.’’ Ashwini is a born athlete and has sports in her genes.
Both her parents have a sporting background. Her father, MA Ponnappa has been a state-level hockey player for 15 years and her mother, Kaveri Ponnappa, is passionate about mountaineering and trekking.
When in school, Ashwini won several awards and medals in athletic events like long jump and running. In fact, spotting this talent in her, athletics coach VR Beedu told her parents, “If Ashwini leaves badminton, I will make her a national-level athlete.’’ But as destiny would have it, Ashwini remained loyal to badminton, and today, her parents and all her coaches are more than happy for that. Her family then shifted to Hyderabad, where she continued her training.
And now that she is back in Bangalore, she is training under Tom John. Talking about the most cherished moment in her career so far, Ashwini comments, “Winning the gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games was a really proud moment for me. Playing in my own country, with a packed stadium cheering me, and then going on to win the gold was an exhilarating experience!’’
As for the success, she attributes it to the specialised training she and her partner, Jwala, received under Indonesian coaches (who specialise in the badminton doubles game).
“We attended the special coaching camp prior to the 2010 Commonwealth Game. I truly believe that such kinds of camps need to be carried out on a regular basis, rather than just before a major event. Our country has a lot of potential; it only needs tapping, for us to make a better mark in the international arena,” she says.
It was not easy for Ashwini to strike a balance between academics and badminton coaching. But thanks to her very supportive parents, teachers and principals, who always stood by her, she managed to achieve everything she has aspired for.
Ashwini loves animals, and reckons that if she weren’t a badminton player, she may have considered becoming a veterinary doctor! But for now, her aim is to ace the Rio De Janeiro Olympics, and also become the number one player in women’s badminton in the near future.
Ashwini feels that her parents have had a big hand in her career – not simply because they, too, are sportspersons – because they let her choose her own path.
She maintains, “There is always the need for parental support when it comes to making a champion out of a good sportsperson. Indian parents should be more open to the idea of their kids opting for sports as a career, rather than pushing their kids to do well in academics alone.”
source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> Supplements> She / by Hema Anand / September 12th, 2014
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