Doubles duo laments lack of specialist coach

Badminton: Jwala-Ashwini plan to shift their training base abroad with focus on Olympics

Doubles duo laments lack of specialist coach

The top Indian doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa are caught in a peculiar situation — they don’t have a coach to train under.

After the exit of Atik Jauhari, the Indonesian who helped the pair win the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold, the two have not had a proper coach, forcing them to contemplate a move abroad for training.

“We need a coach and that’s the first thing on our agenda. It’s very unfortunate that we don’t have a specialised doubles coach with the Olympic year fast approaching,” said Ashwini, speaking to Deccan Herald at the PSPB inter-unit badminton tournament here.

Jwala said the duo won’t be banking on the association for help as several requests to get a coach have fallen on deaf ears time and again. “We don’t want to depend on the association for a coach. It’s been a long time since we asked for a specialised doubles coach who can help us develop our game. But that hasn’t happened till date. We were promised a coach by November, but now it’s December and we are still without a coach,” she said. Ashwini said a move abroad was under serious thought.

“Yes, we are planning to move abroad and train under a specialised doubles coach. With Jwala training in Hyderabad and me here, it’s not easy to work as a pair. Fortunately we have a great understanding on the court and that has been driving us along. But we know that is not all, we need someone who will look at our game as a pair and help us improve,” said Ashwini.

“Though we are yet to finalise the location, we are looking at a few Asian countries. We have no particular coach in our minds. But our managers are in talks with some prominent coaches. We are looking for a healthy environment to practice and develop into better players,” said an emotional Jwala.

Ranked 21st in the world, Jwala and Ashwini won bronze medals at the Asian Championships and was part of the bronze-winning Uber Cup team, while finishing second at the Commonwealth Games this year.

“We had a good season, ending with three medals. But still our needs are not catered to,” said an upset Ashwini who felt doubles wasn’t given due importance in the country.

“We agree the singles players are doing well. Srikanth and Saina winning in China was no mean task. But one should also know that they have been provided with all possible facilities. Coaches, trainers, physio, you name it and they have it. But, we have achieved laurels for our nation without any of these facilities,” she added.

Jwala cited the ongoing national camp in Hyderabad as a case in point. “The camp is being held in Hyderabad and we have been asked to come here (to Bengaluru). While the singles players are attended to by six coaches and five support staff, the doubles players have no coach or a support staff to help them hone their skills,” said Ashwini while Jwala echoed same feelings.

“While the camp started on November 3, I was told of it only on November 18,” she rued.

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