Seasoned doubles shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa on Monday said it's important to stand by the women in the #MeToo movement.Her 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal winning doubles partner Jwala Gutta has been a 'victim' and Ponnappa said women need to be understood and heard.Jwala alleged 'mental harassment' by a national coach and spoke about what she had to go through as a player and how she was 'thrown out' of the national team."In a nation like India, you need to be tough and careful as well. It's important to stand by them, listen to them and give them strength and courage. It's not easy to speak up and voice your opinion," Ponnappa told reporters on the sidelines of the the inaugural Badminton Express League launch.The #MeToo movement against sexual abuse had taken social media by storm.Ponnappa along with Jwala had formed a formidable pair and they went on to win a bronze at the 2011 World Championships, a bronze at the 2014 Asian Championships and silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.However, the duo decided to part ways after they failed to win a single game at the Rio Olympics 2016.Ponnappa added that she was "lucky and blessed" that nothing of that sort has happened to her."It's quite unfortunate with all the things I have read and that's happened. But all I can say is that I am fortunate in that respect that I don't have much to complain about or say. I am grateful for that," she said.
The Badminton Express League will have six teams with 14 players each as they will compete for top honours at the Ordnance Club from November 28-December 2.Talking about the massive upset she and her current doubles partner N.Sikki Reddy inflicted in the recent Denmark Open ousting seventh seed Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan of South Korea to make the quarter-finals, Ponnappa said: "It's important to understand that when you play doubles, you win and lose together. Sikki and I had a great quarters match and that has given me a lot of confidence that we are going in the right direction.""In the quarters match (in the Danish Open) against the Japanese we tried doing the same as we did against the Koreans. It did not work.""That's something we need to work on that we cannot have the same game style against everyone. We need to get better in a few tactical shorts too. It's important to have something special so that we work it towards the end," she added.With the 2020 Olympics in two years time, Ashwini said they are hopeful and working extremely hard to get better."We are stretching the top players and it's about time we start winning. Satwik (Satwiksairaj Rankireddy) and Chirag (Shetty) have had a great run.""Sikki and I have had great matches, Satwik and I have had great matches. We are going to do everything we can to qualify and to well a medal," Ponnappa said.