Ashwini Ponnappa (born: 18 September, 1989) comes from the land of hockey players – Coorg. But at a very young age, Ashwini preferred a badminton racquet over a hockey stick. Her father too was a national hockey player but Ashwini chose to break the tradition.
The right-handed Ashwini went on to become India’s top doubles player, in partnership with the left-handed Jwala Gutta.
Early days of Ashwini Ponnappa
Ashwini started her career in Bangalore at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA). After her initial days under the legendary Prakash Padukone and U Vimal Kumar in Bangalore she moved to Hyderabad.
She trained at PPBA for almost 9 years. She won several sub-junior, junior and senior events at the national level.
Indian Badminton League’s (IBL) Icon Player
IBL was launched in 2013 and Ashwini was one of the icon players. She was purchased by Pune Pistons for $25,000 in the players’ auction in New Delhi. There was controversy surrounding Ashwini’s auction as her base price was halved from $50,000 without informing her.
Ashwini said she was “hurt” and “deeply upset” by the decision of IBL.
Split from Jwala Gutta
After the London Olympics in 2012, Ashwini split from her long-time partner Jwala and paired up with Pradnya Gadre.
Achievements as an international player
At the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010, Ashwini and Jwala won women’s doubles gold. Ashwini was also part of the silver medal winning the mixed team event.
In 2011, Ashwini and Jwala created history by winning India’s first ever World Championship medal. The duo won bronze.
In 2012, Ashwini participated in Olympics in London for the first time in her career. She and Jwala played in the women’s doubles but failed to win a medal. Ashwini-Jwala combination was the first from India to qualify for Olympics women’s doubles.
Ashwini Ponnappa’s Employment
As on August 2013, Ashwini is an employee of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC).