Kolkata, October 30: Ace Indian shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa on Monday (October 29) backed the country's #MeToo movement, saying it's important to stand by the women sharing their experiences.
The online #MeToo movement has seen women revealing alleged incidents of sexual harassment by prominent people in various fields like media and entertainment.
Ashwini is a former doubles partner of Jwala Gutta, who recently alleged that she faced "mental harassment" as a player before being "thrown out" of the national team.
She said, "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."
She also said 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.
Ashwini and Jwala were a formidable pair winning the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal, a bronze at the 2011 World Championships, bronze at 2014 Asian Championships and a silver at the 2014 CWG. However, the duo decided to part ways after they failed to win a single game at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Ashwini was in Kolkata to promote the inaugural Badminton Express League. The all-amateur meet will have six teams with 14 players each and they will compete for top honours at the Ordnance Club from November 28 to December 2.
Ashwini and her current partner N Sikki Reddy caused a massive upset in the recent Denmark Open, ousting seventh seed Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan of South Korea to make the quarterfinals. But their fine run came to an end against top seeds Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota in the quarterfinals.
"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 (in the Danish Open) against the Japanese we tried doing the same as we did against the Koreans. It did not work. 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."
With the 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. Sartwick (Satwiksairaj Rankireddy) and Chirag (Shetty) have had a great run.
"Sikki and I have had great matches, Sartwick and I have had great matches. We are going to do everything we can to qualify and win a medal," Ashwini said.