Dipesh Majumdar

Blog and Paintings

Ashwini and Jwala miss by a whisker

July 31, 2012

Ashwini Ponappa and Jwala Gutta had a tough ask today... they not only had to beat the Singapore ladies, but they had to beat them in straight sets and with a margin of 13 in order to qualify for the quarter finals. So this was a tough ask! 

Remember they were playing against a couple who had a record of 3-0 against the Indian pair and who were also ranked higher. So who would believe the Indian duo would manage to overcome such a touch challenge. At least I never did!

As the game started, the Indian pair played some aggressive shuttle and though they could have won with a higher margin, but they succeeded to clinch a victory in the first set by a margin of 5.

That meant second set had to be won with a margin of 8. We had a real surprise in store after this because the Indian duo garnered 9 points in the second set while Singapore was yet to open their account.

From here the goal seemed easily achievable, but there was a twist in the script. The Indians committed some unforced errors and the lead started getting narrower. India could manage only 6 points instead of 8 and so failed to qualify for the quarterfinals. Heartbreaking indeed!

When the opponent suffers a massive deficit in points, then it gets compressed like a spring inside a fragile container. Now if this container breaks, the spring comes out with a gushing force, very difficult to control. So Singapore basically needed a crack in the container, i.e, a single point to take first. And when they took the first point they succeeded in getting some more points in a quick flurry. And soon the gap was reduced. That is why maintaining a lead is sometimes more difficult that creating a lead… because it is difficult to control a released spring that comes out from compression.

Point number two that I think prevented Jwala and Ashwini to achieve this stiff target was their inability to forget the first set victory and the second set 10 point lead when the second set was half way through. The battle was far from over and the small wars won weighed down heavily on them... creating a sense of satisfaction, relaxation and thereby weakening, ever so slightly, the intense desire to crush the opponent with a huge margin. At this point if they could really flush their mind and memories and start afresh, with the simple aim of winning every single point, they might have altered the outcome of the match. Not allowing past glories weigh on you and concentrating on the job at hand with an empty mind filled with the hunger to win each point could have made a difference.

But it is easier said than done, particularly sitting here in front of the laptop and not having to face the wrath of a better ranked team in the Olympic arena. It is very clear that Ashwini and Jwala played a fabulous game of shuttle. They won the game in straight sets and had a margin of 11 instead of 13... missed only by a whisker! Let's give them their due credit today and not take anything away.

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