Commonwealth Games 2018: 'Didn't play CWG because I wanted to take a break,' says Jwala Gutta
What's the story?
At 34 years of age, veteran badminton player Jwala Gutta still knows how to mesmerise her fans and leave them anxious about her return. In an Instagram live chat, the girl from Wardha, opened up to a casual tete-a-tete revealing why she has been taking a break from badminton since last year among other candid confessions.
In case you didn't know...
Jwala Gutta is arguably one of India's Doubles specialist players. She has been the pride of the nation on several occasions at the international stage. With a career spanning 19 years, Gutta has championed the Nationals 14 times.
Initially paired with Shruti Kurien, she made a tremendous impact in her matches with Ashwini Ponnappa by her side. A 4-time medalist at the Commonwealth Games, Jwala Gutta has had a decorated mixed doubles and doubles career, both areas in which she excelled in.
The heart of the matter
In the Instagram live chat, Jwala opened up, when asked why she wasn't playing in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
"I haven't been playing for past year now. I think people fail to realise that I have been playing for the country since 1999. Continuously, without any break."
She declares that having a long career like that is extremely demanding and always creates a pressure.
"There has been a lot of pressure these 18-19 years. Playing for your country is not a joke, guys."
Being constantly on the tour does not allow enough breathing space for athletes. The scope of having a private space becomes a rarity.
The left-hander cherishes this interim period.
"So as of now, I took a break. Started training, gymming, getting stronger," she said. "It's a very strenuous job, playing a sport. And badminton has been very hard on me, mentally, you know, as well as physically. "
Seeking her way out of the pressure and taking a much-deserved break, therefore, becomes crucial and she relishes enjoying the luxury of a "quiet time".
Fans, however, will grow restless whatever be the case. Asked when she is touting to make a comeback and how long this break will last, Gutta reveals, "I haven't decided how long I'll take a break or whether I'll come back or not. I am not too sure. "
That led to several people thinking if she is nursing an injury, but Gutta strove to make her point clear and declared a sturdy fact, "I am not 'injured'..injured really..18-19 years of playing active badminton took a toll on me."
Gutta refuses to let us in on her future plans but assures us there is something brewing.
"I have a future plan but I can't say it right now. Once I have it in my hand, I can talk about it."
Playing badminton professionally for 18-19 years at a stretch is sure to take a toll on anyone's body. Age is a crippling factor like no other in the arena of sports. As much as it adds experience, it also slows you down considerably. Taking a break and choosing wisely becomes the wisest call at such times.
A brilliant example of this would be the 36-year-old, World No. 2, Roger Federer, who took a 6-month layoff in 2016 and came back stronger in 2017 and went on to win 3 Grand Slams in tennis.
Jwala Gutta, it seems, is taking her inspiration from people like Roger and taking the wise decisions and letting her health take precedence. Her contribution to the country's badminton domain has been exemplary and we cannot wait for her to make a strong comeback whenever she feels is the right time.Published 08 Apr 2018, 19:17 IST