After a break of six months, Jwala Gutta has decided to return to competitive badminton, starting with German Open Grand Prix (Feb 26 to March 3) and All England Open Premier Super Series (March 5 to 10). However, the left-handed Jwala would partner Prajakta Sawant, not with her regular partner Ashwini Ponnappa, in the first two international tournaments. Jwala did not take part in any tournaments after the London Olympics and took a hiatus from the game.
Jwala, who has been in the news for wrong reasons after the London Olympics for her controversial statements and her run-in with National coach Pullela Gopichand, confirmed this news to Express. “I will pair with Prajakta, who, I felt, is being isolated. Nobody is willing to partner her. I want to encourage her. She is one of the top doubles player in the country. I will speaking to the Badminton officials on this matter shortly,” said Jwala, who has since been practicing at the Lal Bahadur Stadium for the past two weeks.
“This game has always given me happiness. I will enjoy playing badminton again,” she said. Jwala also said with her regular partner Ashwini Ponnappa assigned to play with Pradnya Gadre till March, she thought she would make a comeback with Prajakta, who was in the news when she dragged Gopichand to court accusing him of mental harassment and biased selection. The Bombay High Court observed that it was ethically wrong for chief national coach Gopichand to run a private academy in Hyderabad.
Jwala, who won bronze in the 2010 World championship with Ashwini Ponnappa in the women’s doubles event, said that she will practice at Lal Bahadur Indoor Stadium. “I’m more comfortable at LB Indoor Stadium with Arif sir. At presently, I’m focusing on my fitness before returning to full scale practice sessions,” she pointed out, adding Prajakta will join her shortly.