Jwala Gutta insists professional difference still remains with Pullela Gopichand
What's the story?
Known for being upfront and never one to shy away from voicing her opinion, India's premier doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta has said that she does not support the national coach Pullela Gopichand's way of functioning. Jwala's differences with Gopichand have long been known and their feud has been well-documented.
After triumphing at the Canadian Open women's doubles in 2015 partnering with Ashwini Ponnappa, Gutta had alleged that Gopichand did not even congratulate the pair and wondered if not being from the latter's academy was a reason why their names had not been included in the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme by that time. The fiery Gutta did not hesitate to mince words and had asked him to step down.
In a candid interview with Telangana Today recently, she has reiterated her stand on Gopichand and has emphasised that even though she has nothing against Gopichand as a person, the professional differences still remain.
In case you didn't know..
The 33-year-old has recently announced that she will be starting a badminton academy in April. Named 'Global Academy for Badminton (GAB)', the academy in partnership with Knock Out Wellness Labs LLP, a sister concern of Franchise India, will be a state-of-the-art coaching centre.
It aims to tie up with schools besides scouting talent from the grassroots level and there will be equal attention given to singles and doubles. The first centre is coming up at Kukatpally in Hyderabad after which the chain will open more branches in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore.
The heart of the matter
In the interview with Telangana Today, Gutta has admitted that bad politics affects her and she cannot remain diplomatic on the matter. The highly accomplished shuttler, who won the Commonwealth Games gold in 2010, said that whatever she has achieved has only been possible because her parents and her non-judgmental friends stood by her.
Even though the badminton fraternity never supported her, her coach - the highly respected SM Arif - always gave her the confidence to speak up.
Seeing the stepmotherly treatment meted out to doubles players in the country, she has felt obliged to raise her voice, the doubles ace pointed out.
Since her split with her World Championships bronze medal-winning women's doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa, the southpaw decided to focus on mixed doubles. She started the 2017 season at the Malaysia Masters where she participated in mixed doubles alongside Manu Attri. The duo won a round before bowing out in the pre-quarter-finals.
Jwala, who is currently placed at 344th in that discipline, has not played competitively since then but has insisted that her career is not over. Because of her low ranking, she has opted not to play a lot of tournaments and is enjoying a break now.
Having played for more than 15 years at the highest level, Jwala Gutta has every right to express what she feels. And her academy might just be the right step in correcting what has plagued the system. If it can churn out more talent without discriminating between singles and doubles players as promised, it can definitely take Indian badminton to a bigger high.