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Give doubles its due, says Jwala

Jwala Gutta

Glasgow: Just hours after winning a silver in the Commonwealth Games here, Jwala Gutta has slammed discrimination of doubles game in India, saying that singles players were given more recognition in the country.

Jwala and her partner Ashwini failed to defend the gold they had won in 2010 Delhi Games after losing 17-21, 21-23 to Malaysian pair of Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon at Emirates Arena here on Sunday.

Jwala said given the lack of funding and support for the doubles format in India, it was difficult to inspire youngsters to take up doubles in badminton.

“A lot was depending on us and we delivered things that Indians had never dreamt of. We ask for nothing, but a little acknowledgement. We don’t get paid for this and the government funds everything. We want to inspire our juniors to play doubles, but there is no support. We want to do well and play the sport we love, we don’t do it for money as prize money is so bad in badminton,” she said.

“If a singles player gets $10 and a doubles player gets $2, that in itself would be great, but in India we get nothing. We had won a very important match for India and we came back to an empty airport. The singles player, who hadn’t come as close as we did, was greeted with so much cheering at the airport,” said the 30-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships.

In 2012, Jwala and Ponnappa were the first doubles pair from India to qualify for an Olympic Games, but they were eliminated at the group stage. Asked if she would play in mixed doubles in future, Jwala said, “I don’t want to play mixed doubles. Especially, because I don’t have a good partner.

Meanwhile, RMV Gurusaidutt said the bronze medal has helped him regain belief in himself as he was battling fitness doubts ahead of the match. Guru had to play three gruelling matches in a little over a day and the Indian said he was “tensed and doubtful” about his fitness before his bronze-medal contest against Rajiv Ouseph.

“It was really close match. The conditions are very slow here and I had to play a lot of rallies. I was not expecting to win. I just wanted to stick to my strategy and kept telling myself to keep fighting,” Guru said.

“It was extremely tiring because I had a close match on Friday night against top seed Cheng Wei Feng and then in the morning I played Derek Wong and then within few hours I had to play the bronze medal match.

“So when I was playing there were a lot of questions in my mind. I knew it is going to be another long match and so I was tensed. I was not feeling strong on my legs during the third game but Gopi sir really pumped me up and that really pushed me, I am happy I could win,” said Guru.

The 24-year-old was desperate for such a victory ever since making foray into international circuit in 2008 and he said it would act as a great motivation for him.

“It was disappointing to miss the final but this medal has boosted my confidence and it is completely different feeling. It made me belief in myself. Such a medal changes everything, we have seen that with Kashyap. It is a life-time achievement. The recognition and the motivation that one gets is immense. I hope I can keep pushing myself further and it changes my career,” he said. (agencies)