Ashwini Ponnappa has decided to end her doubles partnership with Jwala Gutta in one of the biggest setbacks to Indian badminton in recent times.
Having been the best ever women's doubles pair in recent times, fans would be disappointed with the 'break-up'. They are the only ladies pair to win a medal (bronze) at the World Championships in 2011 while also clinching the Gold at 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. Ashwini and Jwala also represented India at the London Olympics.
The Times of India reports that Ashwini has written to the Badminton Association of India, saying henceforth she intended to partner Pradnya Gadre in all tournaments.
Meanwhile, Jwala, who had gone on a 'game break' after an indifferent London Games, has also been busy shooting a special song in Telugu movie - Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde - opposite Nithin Reddy. The movie is scheduled to release next month and will mark the debut of Jwala in a new avatar! (See Pics: Jwala in movie action)
On the badminton front, the feisty Jwala returned to competitive badminton in January 2013 and wanted to partner Ashwini with an eye on the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Ashwini, on the other hand, had already promised Pradnya that she would partner her at the recently concluded All England meet.
Jwala then had to choose Prajakta Sawant. But Sawant could not make it to the All England meet due to visa issues and Jwala had to remain content with playing only in the mixed doubles alongside V Diju.
"Immediately after the All England, Ashwini told me that she would continue with me. I am really excited to play with her, it was a great learning experience," Pradnya told TOI, adding that it is very difficult to replace a player of Jwala's calibre.
"Jwala is a good player and it would be difficult for me to fill her boots. But I am confident of doing well with Ashwini," she added.
Jwala, who is busy shooting the movie, will continue playing with Diju in mixed doubles. The duo will feature in the Asian Championships followed by the Indian Open.
"Initially, Jwala wanted to play only women's doubles and so I started playing with an Indonesian girl. But Jwala asked me to renew the partnership. I am happy to play with Jwala and hopefully we will continue for a few years," Diju said.