Jwala Gutta is one of the most recognized women sportspersons in the nation. She has faced a lot of ups and downs but always fought back to win accolades for the nation. Jwala hails from Wardha, Maharashtra and started playing badminton at the young age of 6 under the mentorship of Mr SM Arif. She won her first major title at the Under 13 Mini National Badminton Championships at Thrissur before winning the Junior World Badminton Championship title in 2000. She came into light when she won 7 straight National titles with Shruti Kurien from 2002 to 2008.
The duo went on to win at the international circuit by giving consistent performances at the Sri Lanka International Satellite Challenge in 2006, the Cyprus Badminton International Tournament, the Pakistan International Challenge and the Indian International Challenge in 2007, the Nepal International Series and the Dutch Open Grand Prix titles in 2008. She enjoys playing for the frontcourt and intense ability to play deceptive strokes. She has set numerous records as an Indian badminton player.
Jwala Gutta officially launched the Jwala Gutta Academy of Excellence in a glitzy ceremony in Hyderabad. The Academy is a state-of-the-art complex which will have training facilities for numerous sport such as cricket, badminton, and swimming and will be operational next month. The event was attended by boxer Vijender Singh, wrestler Sushil Kumar, and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, MP and former Union Minister. During the interaction with the media revealed the reason for opening her centre of excellence and quoted saying, “I want to develop an individual in a way that it reflects who they are.”
Gutta’s statement against national coach Pullela Gopichand and the constant quarrelling for a long time has led to an unkind equation between the two. One of the major reason for the relationship between two as gone sour as the national badminton camps are held at Gopichand’s academy in Hyderabad. Gutta was quoted saying, “I didn’t have a choice. 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 per cent of them are from one place. I am left defending the other 10 per cent. I think we needed a second option in our country. It was high time.”
The academy is spreading over 55 acres and comprises 14 courts. Space has been financed her father’s retirement benefits and selling one of their houses. The support promised by the state government of giving her land was never assigned to her. Jwala also had a meeting with the Sports Ministry for its support. “I have approached the Sports Ministry. I meet Mr Kiren Rijiju. He was welcoming of my idea and I hope I will get support from govt.“
She revealed a long-term plan to convert this into a Sports Authority of India centre and said that “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 also added that “I can’t pretend to be a coach. I have not learned to coach. So my role is to mentor and is the middle person, I am the bridge to players, coaches, and parents.”
Suniel Shetty was appointed as the brand ambassador of NADA with the country’s anti-doping body hoping that his popuarity will help its efforts to clean up sports in the country from the menace. Jwala Gutta questioned the decision appointment of brand ambassador, Suniel Shetty and is of the opinion that sportsperson a better fit for the campaign. She was quoted saying that “According to me, a sportsperson should be made the brand ambassador of NADA. do not know why we get attracted to actors. It’s time that we make a sports person the ambassador for NADA. It is an important organisation for sports, so according to me a sportsperson should be the ideal choice.”
She further added that “It is a good thing. It is a sports body so a sports person like Sushil could have been the ambassador but Anna (Shetty) has been made and he is a fitness freak guy and I know him and wish him good luck.”