Ashwini Ponnappa excited to be a part of 'wonderful' IBL

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Bangalore, Aug 3: Ashwini Ponnappa is ready for a busy month of August. First, the World Championship in Guangzhou followed by Indian Badminton League (IBL).

IBL's icon player, Ashwini is currently sweating it out in Bangalore in preparation for the World Championship in China. As she is focused on the Chinese sojourn, the 23-year-old's mind is also occupied with the inaugural IBL.

Ashwini Ponnappa giving tips to a school girl during the launch of

Badminton is the latest sport in the country to go the franchise way. It started with cricket in 2008 when Indian Premier League (IPL) was born. Five years later, IBL is unveiled with $1 million on offer for six teams.

When OneIndia contacted Ashwini to know her views on the new league, the Bangalorean felt it should work and do good for the racquet sport as it has done to cricket.

"I feel it should work. We have to wait and see how it goes. It should be good for the sport. It has helped cricket. Hope badminton too will pick it up on this league," said Ashwini.

Ashwini, a doubles' specialist will be wearing Pune Pistons jersey this year.

Just after the IBL auction, there was controversy as Ashwini's base price was halved from $50,000 without informing her.

In the players' auction, Pune purchased Ashwini for $25,000. Having expressed her displeasure at the turn of events, Ashwini has now left that episode behind and is concentrating on a good performance on the court.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games doubles gold medalist said she is "excited" and looking forward to be part of IBL which commences in Delhi on August 14. The final will be in Mumbai on August 31.

"I am excited. I am looking forward to play the league," said Ashwini, who along with Jwala Gutta, created history for India in 2011 by winning the women's doubles bronze at the World Championship.

The mix of Indian and foreign players in IBL is an "wonderful experience" for Ashwini.

"It will be a wonderful experience. It is a platform to interact with other (foreign) players and get to know them better. It is good for us. It will also help us have nice friendship at the end of the league," she explained.

Bangalore's team - Banga Beats will certainly miss Ashwini. Even their coach U Vimal Kumar said recently that she would have added value to the franchise.

"I guess it would have been (good to be in Bangalore). But happy that Pune Pistons picked," said Ashwini when queried about not being in her home team.

"I want to give my best to the team. I hope Pune does well," she added.

On the World Championship, where she will be playing with two new partners (doubles with Pradyna Gadre and mixed doubles with Tarun Kona), Ashwini admits it is going to be "really tough."

"The training has been good (in Bangalore). I am enjoying my training. The Championship will be really tough. I want to take one match at a time," Ashwini said.

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