Ashwini Ponnappa youngest from Kodagu to win Arjuna award
Machimanda Ashwini Ponnappa is perhaps the youngest sportsperson from Kodagu to win the prestigious Arjuna award.
Ashwini, along with Jwala Gutta, India’s women’s badminton doubles pair, who narrowly missed out on a quarterfinal berth in the London Olympics, was recently conferred the Arjuna award by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony at the Rastrapati Bhavan.
It is learnt that Ashwini was considered for the Arjuna award a little early in her career, taking into consideration the fact that she had won a gold during the Commonwealth Games and bronze at the World Championship.
Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa missed out on a quarterfinal berth at the London Olympics despite winning their last Group B badminton match against the Singapore team. Taipei, Japan and India won two matches and lost one but when the differences were calculated taking into account games won and lost and points won and lost, India were pushed to the third spot.
Commenting on the failure to make it to the quarterfinals, Ashwini was quoted as saying: “A few countries did not play fair and we had to bear the consequences. The Chinese and Indonesians have always ruled the roost in badminton. Post our ouster, we lodged a formal protest, but it fell on deaf ears. Of course, the complaint was lodged a little late in the day. However, the decision was completely unfair. We have to work so hard to book a berth for ourselves at the Olympics.”
The Government of India has taken the right decision in conferring the Arjuna award on Ashwini so early in her career, as this would boost her performance in the future.
Among those who have won the Arjuna award from Kodagu in the past, include M.P. Ganesh, B.P. Govinda, M.M. Somayya, A.B. Subbiah, (all hockey), Ashwini Nachappa and Reeth Abraham (both alheletics), and C.C. Machaiah (boxing).