With Rio Olympics coming up in 2016, the top Indian women’s doubles pair in badminton Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa said their immediate goal is to break into top 10 world rankings by the end of this year.
“We are currently ranked 11th. We had broken into the top 10 after the Canadian Open but I fell sick during the Japan Open and Korea Open and the rankings have come down a bit. Our aim is to be in the top 10 by the end of the year and also qualify for the Super Series finals (in Dubai),” said Jwala, who along with Aswhini, was in the city on Wednesday as they were unveiled as Olympic Gold Quest’s 100th athlete.
About their association with OGQ, Jwala and Ashwini both said that now they can concentrate on their game as their off-field requirements such as fitness and diet will be taken care of by the agency.
“We are excited to be associated with OGQ and it’s important we get this kind of support. It’s less than a year to go for Rio and we will work harder and try to achieve better results. Every professional athlete needs individual attention in training, nutrition etc and OGQ will provide it,” said Jwala.
Ashwini said, “We look forward to working harder and doing better in all the tournaments leading to the Olympic Games. We need a fit body to give 100 per cent. They (OGQ) will give us 100 per cent support if we need anything.”
Jwala said the pair is on target to qualify for the Olympics for which they need to be in the top 16 at the cut-off date (April 30).
Meanwhile, Indian badminton legend Prakash Padukone, one of the co-founders of OGQ, said he has asked the pair not only to focus on Rio but do well in all the tournaments.
“Jwala and Ashwini haven’t played up to their potential till date. I know they have the quality to play at their best and I know they will do well in the upcoming tournaments. Their goal should not just be Rio but all the upcoming events leading up to the Olympics. Performing well will give them a lot of confidence and they can carry it ahead into the big tournament,” he said.