“What’s past is past, I’m happy to represent Pune — my new home,” said Ashwini Ponnappa, who finally appeared to be content with the Indian Badminton League.
The Pune Pistons’ icon player has had issues with her base price at the IBL auction and also had complained about the tight schedule. On Tuesday, she praised the tournament for garnering support across the country.
“IBL is taking the game to different cities and creating a fan base. Thousands of spectators are cheering for us which is motivating. In India, one doesn’t get to watch all the top players under the same roof.”
Anchoring the journey of Pistons and beating the likes of Koo Kien Keat and Jwala Gutta — her old doubles partner — the shuttler is in a good form. “Keat is a tricky player and one of the best in doubles,” she said.
On the eve of her match against Banga Beats, she told dna that her heart still lies in Bangalore, but she is overwhelmed how the fans have supported her in Pune. “I’ve to keep my emotions aside. Pune is my team now,” she said.
Ponnappa also acknowledged the presence of international players and thanked them for their words of wisdom since the inception of the tournament.
“Their approach to a match is fantastic. They do different sorts of training and I’m learning a lot about mixed doubles. Now I know why we are still not at par with the powerhouses of badminton.”
The shuttler felt that training with them will boost the entire Indian badminton contingent in the long run.
Her complaints about the tight schedule did not fall on deaf ears. “I feel refreshed as we all got to unwind on Tuesday. It was a much-needed break. The entire team got together and had fun,” she added.
Though she wants to take one IBL at a time and isn’t sure whether she will don the Pune jersey next season, the champion is “having a ball playing along Joachiam Fischer Nielsen (Denmark). He is making sure I enjoy on the court.”