Threatened with a ban by the administrators and labelled an enfant terrible by her detractors, ace shuttler G. Jwala says such has been the “hurt and pain” of the last six months that she has not been able to celebrate her bronze medal at the recent Asian badminton championships to the fullest.
India’s best doubles player, Jwala had to endure a bitter legal battle with the Badminton Association of India after its disciplinary committee recommended a life ban on her for allegedly delaying a match between Krrish Delhi Smashers and Banga Beats in the Indian Badminton League last year.
Jwala, who has brought many laurels to the country in her over-a-decade-long career, on Wednesday said the bronze medal at the Asian championship had healed some of the pain that she went through last year.
“This medal is sort of revenge for me. I am now playing with vengeance. There is a lot of hurt and pain. If I would not have had to go through the trauma of what happened six months back, I would have enjoyed this medal win with more calmness,” Jwala said.
“What happened to me was completely unnecessary. Why should a sportsperson go through it? I didn’t demand money for my achievement, I demanded respect and acknowledgement. But there has been nothing. Why doubles is discriminated?” the feisty player asked.
“Frankly, I don’t understand why I have to prove myself again and again. I have achieved enough and I am proud of my achievements. I won medals at Commonwealth Games, World championship, I represented India in Olympics. Even the bronze at ABC is a first for Indian badminton. There is still no one in the team to replace me and Ashwini (Ponnappa).
“We have achieved all that without support. But even today we have to struggle for sponsorship,” she added.
A Commonwealth Games gold, a bronze at 2011 World championship and qualifying for London Olympics, Jwala has achieved it all but despite her accomplishments, she has found herself at the receiving end of BAI’s ire time and again.
Targeting a medal
The 14-time national champion has once again answered her critics with her performance and buoyed by her feat at the ABC, Jwala is now targeting a medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“Playing the next Olympics is my main aim. I started playing again after the break only because I want to win a medal at Rio Olympics,” Jwala said.
“Qualifying for the London Olympics in two events was a very big achievement for me. Now, I want to try and win an Olympic medal, I will give my last shot. I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to end my career with an Olympic medal.”
Asked about rankings, Jwala said: “I focus more on matches and performance and don’t want to calculate much. But I think a place inside the top 15 by this year end would be good.
“Mentally, I think I am stronger. After all the nonsense that happened, I’m able to block myself under pressure and moreover I am playing just one event, women’s doubles. So I am more relaxed,” added Jwala, who is looking to focus on her strengths. — PTI