“Embracing Resilience at 34: Ashwini Ponnappa’s Triumph Over Self-Doubt Ignites Paris Aspiration”

Ashwini Ponnappa, conquering inner demons of doubt, clinches her third Olympic spot, fueling her ambition with a resilient ‘fighting mentality.’ As she gears up for Paris, the Indian badminton star aims to imbue every rally with the same tenacity, determined to carve her path to Olympic glory.

Despite her extensive tenure in the sport, Ashwini Ponnappa, at 34, shows no signs of deceleration. The arduous preparation for her third Olympics in the demanding realm of badminton presents a formidable challenge. What’s more, competing in doubles alongside a partner nearly 15 years her junior is an unprecedented feat.

Amidst a frenzy of events, Indian athletes traversed through five tournaments within a mere six-week span, fervently aiming to secure their tickets to the French capital. All the while, anticipation builds as the final qualifying list draws closer to its unveiling at the end of this month.

“The past weeks have been a relentless series of four consecutive tournaments, adding considerable stress. Yet, it’s a shared experience among all competitors vying for an Olympic slot. Personally, I feel a sense of relief and joy in our qualification,” shared Ashwini, under the management of IOS Sports & Entertainment, with PTI.

“Defying Doubters: Ashwini Ponnappa’s Remarkable Journey to Olympic Qualification”

“I held onto hope for qualification, but few believed it possible, some even doubted my return. We essentially began anew. However, deep down, it was a wish, a dream we harbored to secure this spot,” she expressed.The Ashwini-Tanisha partnership commenced only in January 2023, yet remarkably clinched two Super 100 titles in Abu Dhabi and Guwahati. Additionally, they reached the finals at Odisha Super 100 and Syed Modi International Super 300.

“Navigating the Challenges: Ashwini Ponnappa’s Journey to Physical and Mental Resilience”

Her sustained career in the sport hasn’t been without its share of challenges, notably marked by a bout of dengue in 2016 that sparked a significant shift in her training regimen and philosophy.

“Despite facing physical challenges along the way, my motivation has never waned. Maintaining peak physical condition is paramount at this level, but mental fortitude is equally indispensable. It’s a balance I’m adamant about maintaining—I’m selective about my training regimen and heed only trusted advice. Since 2016, I’ve been under the guidance of Deckline Leitao, a pivotal change-maker in my journey. With age, the approach to fitness becomes more nuanced. I’ve learned to recognize the importance of moderation and trust my coach’s guidance. Unlike in my younger years, where rigorous training was the norm, I now understand the value in knowing when to ease off and avoid overexertion,” she articulated.

“Forging Bonds: Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto’s Evolution as Doubles Partners”

While they stand as equal partners on the court, Ashwini acknowledges that fostering understanding with Tanisha Crasto took time. “The dynamic has certainly evolved. Initially, there was a barrier due to the significant age gap—I being the senior and she the up-and-comer. Building that comfort level took time, and honestly, there’s still room for improvement. It’s a continual work in progress. I don’t believe there’s another pair on the circuit with such a notable age difference.”

“It’s refreshing to team up with someone with a promising future ahead of her. I admire her enthusiasm and eagerness to compete in major tournaments,” she confessed.

Occasionally, the seasoned veteran within her emerges, eliciting laughter as she reflects on her role. “I don’t feel pressured by the senior status, but I do find myself naturally slipping into a mentoring role,” she explains. I prefer not to, but my experience over the years inevitably leads me to offer guidance now and then when I notice certain things. Luckily, she’s receptive to my occasional advice,” she adds with a smile.

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