Indian shuttler Jwala Gutta believes that she has answered her critics by qualifying for the Rio Olympics in women’s doubles along with Ashwini Ponnappa. After qualifying for the games, Gutta is now focussed on winning a medal and wants to set an example, and help young players develop and mature.
"My critics had written me off two or three years ago and have been constantly undermining me over and over again. But I am still here, I am going to represent India at Olympics for the second time, and there is nothing that compares to this feeling!" said the 32-year old in a candid interview with the TOI.
She went on to add how she faced difficulties as a woman, and how satisfying it was for her to prove her detractors wrong. "When a woman is independent or successful, not many people like it, especially, if she speaks her mind. For some reason, the world expects a woman not to have opinions, or to stand her ground when she believes in something. We are always expected to compromise or adjust. We live in that kind of a society. So it does feel good to prove my detractors wrong." After failing to win a medal at her last outing in London, Gutta is glad to have qualified for the event again. “We knew that we were going to qualify, but an official confirmation always comes as an authentication of our belief.
"We have been training hard under the supervision of our Malaysian coach, Tan Kim. The whole regime is more organised and we feel a lot more looked after personally. We needed this kind of personal attention. I have lost 12 kgs in the last three-four months and I am in a great form — physically and mentally — right now."
Her partnership with Ashwini Ponnappa has only blossomed over the years, and Gutta believes that they share a great chemistry. “Both Ashwini and I have same kind of goals. We believe in ourselves, our skills and the sport. Ashwini has the right kind of attitude that syncs with me, I guess that works on the court. It's the attitude that matters, that's why we are still here. It's as simple as that," said the badminton star.
However, Gutta feels that India should be doing better at the Olympics and hopes to help budding players in whatever way possible. "Despite a population of one billion, we have just a handful of Olympic medals to boast of. There are a lot of reasons for why sports and sportspersons are struggling in the country. A lot depends on the competency of the governing bodies of sports in the country. Take cricket, for example, it is played only in 12 countries, but BCCI is still the richest sports body. They must be doing something right. We could learn from them. As a sportsperson, I dream of seeing the day when I can help out budding sports stars of our country," concluded Gutta.
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