After winning a bronze medal with Ashwini Ponnappa in the World Badminton Championship in London, doubles specialist Jwala Gutta is determined to repeat that show at the same venue in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.
“If I can do it in the World Championship, why not in the London Games,” says the 28-year-old Jwala.
Excerpts... On the forthcoming London Games
I have worked hard and lost weight which is a good sign. Olympics is something special and I will give my best. As a doubles player I have got the opportunity to participate in two events (women’s doubles and mixed doubles). It is a great feeling which I least expected. If you had asked two years ago, who is going to represent India in Olympics, people would say it was in the singles. But I’m happy that I’m able to make it to the Olympics in doubles. I want to give a good show whether I lose or win.
On taking part in two events
It is nothing new. I’m aware that there will be a lot of pressure on me. People expect us to win a medal. But I have always done well in the official big events.
On doubles not being given due recognition
The doubles achievements are never given the due recognition. Probably because of me, Ashwini is being affected. I have got used to silly politics and gimmicks. Nobody can really stop me after all what we have been through as a sportsperson. Winning a medal in doubles is something to be cherished. But unfortunately the achievement is not recognised.
On being called lucky to win bronze at Worlds
I’m not sure. Things might be the same even if I win. People might say Jwala won by fluke. It is crazy. To beat world No 2, world No 9 and then world No 11 in the world championship when we were then ranked 21 cannot be termed as fluke. The world meet is where the best participate. It is stupid. I feel like laughing at those people who think that way.
On being hurt
People think I’m an angry woman but I’m more a determined player. I have been brought up that way.
On being the best doubles player in the country
It is a compliment. I changed the conception because people in our country now have a more positive attitude towards doubles. They have realised that doubles can bring glory and incentives. When I go out, people recognise me and respect me for my performances.
On India and world badminton
It is just one Saina or one Jwala. I would be more happy if Indian badminton becomes a bigger threat in the international arena.
On her mixed doubles partner V Diju
Diju is very powerful, intelligent and has a good serve. I have jelled with Diju very well. He has made an amazing comeback after his back injury. When Diju is in top form, nobody can stop him.
Ashwini Ponnappa is getting better with every outing. She is a junior and there is scope for improvement.