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Jwala Gutta promises to promote female sportspersons of India after SAI induction

Gutta is one of eight athletes nominated under the category, 'Eminent Sportspersons'.

Gutta is currently on a break after starting the 2017 season at the Malaysia Masters

What's the story?

Indian badminton doubles ace Jwala Gutta has promised to promote the female sportspersons of India after being selected as a member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI). The former World Championships bronze medallist has told The Times of India that her agenda will be to ensure that the women get the respect that they deserve.

The 33-year-old southpaw pointed out that it was the women athletes who brought laurels for the country from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Despite that, they still struggle to avail of the best facilities and are constantly pushed into the shadows. Gutta's main aim is to correct that, she has emphasised.

"Women sportspersons are discriminated against in our country. They don't get the best facilities nor are they treated as equals with the men. That needs to change as we all saw that it was the women who brought home the laurels form the Rio Olympics. So that will be my focus," Jwala said.

In case you didn't know...

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist is one of the eight 'Eminent Sportspersons' nominated by the Sports Ministry who have been inducted in the governing body of SAI. The others are London Olympic bronze medallist shooter Gagan Narang, Asian Games gold medallist archer Abhishek Verma, former weightlifter Kunjurani Devi, ex-athletes Ashwini Nachappa and Shiny Wilson, former cricketer Chetan Chauhan and ex-hockey player MP Ganesh.

They will focus on enhancement of India's sporting performances on the international stage.

The heart of the matter

Gutta had a run-in with the SAI a couple of years back when she and her then partner Ashwini Ponnappa were not included in the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme initially. The 14-time national champion, however, clarified to the Times of India that her grudge was not specifically against the SAI, rather she was disappointed with how the Badminton Association of India (BAI) handled the situation.

Even though she has self-admittedly been surprised at being elected as one of the members, she believes that it is this way in which her immense contribution to her sport has been vindicated.

What's next?

Gutta is currently on a break after starting the 2017 season at the Malaysia Masters where she reached the pre-quarter-finals with Manu Attri in mixed doubles. She has switched to mixed doubles fully since her split from her long-time women's doubles partner, Ashwini Ponnappa.

But because her current ranking is way too low at 344th in that discipline, she is not keen to play a lot of tournaments. That said, Gutta has recently insisted that she still intends to keep on playing and that her career is definitely not over.

Author's take

There couldn't be anyone better than Jwala Gutta to try and bring some change in the system in which sports is run in the country. Gutta, one of the most outspoken and upfront athletes of the country, has never shied away from calling out what is wrong and has never hesitated to ask for what she is worthy of getting.

The veteran shuttler has always been vocal about discrimination and there is no doubt that she will be striving to give her fellow women athletes the platform that they deserve.

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