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Jwala Gutta, the rebel shuttler who opened her own badminton academy

Jwala Gutta, the rebel shuttler who opened her own badminton academy

The Bridge Desk

Published: 4 Nov 2020 6:26 AM GMT

Jwala Gutta, once India’s top-ranked doubles badminton player, and a Commonwealth Games, Asian Championships and World Championships medallist, launched her new sports academy at Moinabad, on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Monday. Talking about her dream of opening a distinguished training facility, Gutta had earlier said that the academy will open the gates for players with “personalities.”. Gutta, among a handful of outspoken athletes, had repeated clashes with chief national coach P. Gopichand during her prime, when she claims she was sidelined despite her success. Her outspokenness has extended to commenting on current events; she tweeted about the violence against students in Delhi and the Hyderabad encounter killing, making her one of the few vocal sportspersons in India.

“We need two things for making a city a sports hub, first we need poster boys and girls and role models for young kids for inspiration,” president of the Telangana Badminton Association KT Rama Rao said while inaugurating the pools. Further, he added, “The second is to have world class facilities where they can become champions. We have these two things falling in place beautifully at this centre. I do believe there is scope to do more and Jwala needs support from the government and we will give support to her in whatever way we can. I believe this will eventually become a factory of making champions.”

Last year, announcing the launch of her academy Gutta had said. “I want to develop an individual in a way that it reflects who they actually are.” With training facilities for badminton and swimming the institute in Hyderabad is built on a 55-acre land, comprising 14 courts, swimming pool and so on.

In a previous interview with The Indian Express, Gutta had revealed “Having an academy would probably also give me some strength. It’s like my muscle. I can speak more. I go to selection committee meetings and 90 percent of them are from one place. I am left defending the other 10 percent. I think we needed second option in our country. It was high time”.

Gutta’s long-term plan is to convert this into a Sports Authority of India centre. “I have already approached (SM) Arif sir. He will look over the academy overall. We will appoint two foreign coaches. I will need at least 10 coaches for 14 courts, so I am looking for Indian coaches. But I’ll be mentoring. I know who’s capable of coaching and who is the real coach (laughs). Coaching is very pious and frankly, it’s a lot of hard work,” she had explained.

In an interview with Mint, Jwala had said, "I think everyone is different. I want to nurture their individuality and bring that personality on court. The examples I can give are from tennis. Players like Sania (Mirza). She’s different, speaks well, has an understanding of what’s happening or like Serena Williams, be fearless, say it as it is. As sportspersons, we don’t play for Congress, or AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) or BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), we play for the country. Millions are following one athlete, (Virat) Kohli or (P.V.) Sindhu, Sania, me. It’s our moral responsibility to say things, have an opinion."

Her outspoken personality has time-and-again come to the fore with having strong opinions, condemn rapes, violence against women, now violence against students.

Gutta has made India proud by winning many medals at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Uber Cup. She is a two-time Olympian and a champion in the 2014 Glasgow Games in women’s doubles.

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