In a shocking news for the badminton world, India’s celebrated shuttler and Arjuna awardee Jwala Gutta has announced a sabbatical from the game. The 33-year-old was last seen playing in the Malaysia Masters in January — only one tournament since the 2016 Rio Olympics – and was knocked out from the mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals.
The Hyderabadi is rumoured to be mulling retirement from the game.
Gutta, India’s most successful doubles specialist, told Hindustan Times, “I have been playing since 1999 and have been the top doubles player in India for 18 years. Right now, at this stage and juncture, I am not motivated enough to play. I don’t plan to play any tournament as of now.”
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“Nobody realises that I have played a lot. People ask what next; the Olympics? They expect, I like that but they should also be realistic and understand that I have played for the country for the past 18 years,” said Gutta
The 14-time feisty national champion is determined to be the flag-bearer for women in sports. But when asked if she will announce her retirement soon, the champion player replied, “I am contemplating what to do first before announcing anything.”
The 2011 World Championship women’s doubles bronze medallist, Gutta had previously taken a sabbatical after the 2012 London Games.
She has currently taken charge of her academy and has been offered an administrative role as a member in the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
A recently appointed member of the governing body of Sports Authority of India (SAI), Gutta said, “My academy has already started but I also want to work with the association. I am a person who likes to take up responsibilities. Hopefully, I can bring in a lot of change,” added Gutta.
The shuttler had announced the launch of her badminton academy last month — the ‘Global Academy for Badminton’ — to ensure youngsters a platform to discover their passion and talent.
“I do not see anyone. I do not have answer. I set a benchmark of being World No.6, winning World Championship and CWG medals. But there has been nothing after that. We don’t promote doubles games enough,” concluded Gutta.
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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