In 2002 Manchester, she was a novice taking her first steps in badminton but eight years down the line, Jwala Gutta is one of the best medal prospects for India at the Commonwealth Games and the 27-year-old says she will not let her country down.
Jwala will pair up with V Diju and Ashwini Ponnappa to spearhead the Indian challenge in mixed and women’s doubles events and she said she is eyeing two gold medals at the Delhi Games.
“During the Manchester Commonwealth Games, I was very young and new. I still remember those days; it was a different experience for me. Gopi was playing in those days. But now I have grown as a player a lot would be expected of me and Diju. I am ready for it,” Jwala told PTI.
“I am looking to win two gold medals, nothing less than that. Diju and I had good exposure this year, thanks to the government’s support. We have grown as players in the last couple of years and foreign teams are now scared to face us.
“We had good training sessions in the last month, where we have worked on the mistakes committed during the world championship. I am looking forward to performing at home,” she said.
Asked about the level of competition, Jwala said, “Frankly speaking, it might not look so but there is tough competition in doubles. Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and England have good teams. But I know they are beatable.”
Talking about her chances in women’s doubles, Jwala said she and Ashwini have performed well since pairing together last year.
“Ashwini has suddenly grown as a player in the last couple of months. We have consistently played well. She is young and sharp and I believe we can win gold,” Jwala said.
Ashwini said the pair is working on their defence. “We are working to sharpen our different areas. We have a good attack and we are now working more on our defence, also focusing on strength and speed,” she said.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games