India’s ace shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa has announced the first ever exclusive women’s doubles tournament in India. The tournament, launched in association with the energy drink brand Red Bull, will be played as Red Bull Shuttle Up.
Red Bull Shuttle Up, aiming to further boost and improve badminton’s participation and popularity amongst aspiring women players, will be held across five cities — Delhi, Bangalore, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
The winner will get a pride opportunity to play against one of India’s leading doubles women player Ashwini and her partner. “My dream is to create awareness and promote doubles badminton in the country. More job opportunities for doubles players, more exposure for tournaments, and prize money on par with singles will motivate youngsters to focus on doubles and take it up seriously,” said the ace doubles badminton player.
“Things have definitely changed over the years, today’s youngsters are definitely focusing and switching to doubles at a younger age. We now have specialist coaches just for doubles and that has helped improved the standards of play. There is a better understanding between partners and many youngsters are taking up doubles from an early age, which is a great sign. Many Indian doubles pairs have reached semi-finals and quarterfinals in previous tournaments, which is a clear indication that we are heading towards the right direction,” The Red Bull athlete added.
Open exclusively for women above the age of 16, all the Red Bull Shuttle Up matches will be played on the knock out basis where all pairs will play a best of 3 sets with 11 points (rally points) instead of the traditional 21 points a set.
As many as six pairs – the winners from each of the five cities and one “lucky losing pair” – will qualify for the national finals, slated for the first week of November.
“Lucky loser” will be the pair that lost the finals but scored the maximum number of points in that match. In case of 2 teams tied on the same number of points, the one with higher aggregate from the previous round will be considered to tie break.