New Delhi: Unhappy with the step-motherly treatment meted out to doubles in the country, ace shuttler Ashwini Ponnappa on Wednesday said there is no motivation for the youngsters to choose a career in the format.
"India is a country which does not focus on doubles. Singles players are doing really well in our country but in doubles it's different, the encouragement is different," said Ponnappa, who had won a bronze at 2011 World championship alongwith Jwala Gutta in women's doubles.
"You are working against the system where even if you do really well your performance is not highlighted, you don't get as many sponsors as a singles player and if that's the case whats the motivation for youngsters to pick up doubles?" Ponnappa said.
Ponnappa, along with some other doubles players had earlier criticised the Badminton Association Of India for rewarding the Junior Nationals singles title winners with cars while neglecting the doubles winners.
"In the Junior Nationals, the singles title winner gets a car while the doubles title winner gets nothing. If you were a player would you want to take up singles or doubles?" Ponnappa said on the sidelines of a Premier Badminton League (PBL) event.
"In India singles is where the limelight is, where everything is and doubles is like another event, your last resort -- if things don't work out in singles you move to doubles.
"When you look at the Chinese, Koreans or the Japanese, they have a minimum of five players who are doing well at the international level," she said.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner said in other countries, unlike India, players are encouraged to take up doubles not as a last resort but as the first choice.
"It's not like this in other countries, you are motivated to take up doubles and do very well in it. If you are a doubles winner you are given as much importance as a singles player," she said.
The 27-year-old from Bangalore said doubles is not popular in India also because of lack icons who have won titles previously and those who are doing well in recent times are not getting recognition.
"India has produced players like Prakash Padukone, Gopichand who have already won All england titles, they have taken singles to the next level long ago," she said.
"Jwala Gutta and Valiyaveetil Diju have done very well, they were the first pair to reach a super series finals, but no one talked about that.
"The mindset of the people, media and our association together has to change to give doubles a boost," she concluded.