Source: Hindustan Times (03-Aug-2017)

Badminton Star Jwala Gutta: Use criticism positively to snub critics

Jwala Gutta (born 7 September 1983) is a retired left-handed Indian badminton player. Born in Wardha to an Indian father and a Chinese mother, she began playing badminton at a young age. She is most successful doubles specialist from India, and has represented the country at the international circuit since the late 1990s till 2017. A fourteen-time National Champion, Gutta played with Shruti Kurien earlier in her career, but found greater international success with Ashwini Ponnappa. The pair consistently figured among the top-twenty in the BWF World Ranking reaching as high as no. 10 in 2015. Gutta is the first badminton player of Indian to qualify for two events in the Olympics–women’s doubles with Ponnappa and mixed doubles with V. Diju at London. Gutta is known for her skilled left-handed stroke-play and is one of the very few doubles players to use a forehand service.

Gutta has won numerous medals for Indian badminton including the bronze medal 2011 BWF World Championships in London, and a gold and silver at 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games respectively in the women’s doubles event which were the first for the country in the discipline. Other achievements include the historic bronze medal at the 2014 Thomas & Uber Cup held at New Delhi, a bronze medal at Badminton Asia Championships in the same year and final and semi-final appearances in many big international events most notably the finals appearance at the 2009 BWF Super Series Masters Finals, alongside Diju which was the first for the country in any discipline. Gutta has been credited to have brought recognition for doubles badminton in India, first with her mixed doubles partner Diju with whom she peaked at no. 6 in 2010 becoming the first doubles partnership from the country to be ranked amongst the top-10 and later with her partnership with Ponnappa in women’s doubles. Gutta has won medals at all major international badminton tournaments and multi-sport events, except for the Olympics.

In addition to her badminon career, Gutta has been vociferous for the issues she advocates for, ranging from fair treatment in sports, health and education, women’s empowerment and gender equality. She has been listed several times among the top most inspiring sportswomen of India. She was awarded the Arjuna Award, India’s second highest sporting award for her achievements. Gutta was married to badminton player Chetan Anand from 2005-2011. She told ESPN that she was contemplating retirement, after entering negotiations for a coaching role for BAI in May 2017.

Awards

In 2011, Gutta was awarded the Arjuna award by the Indian Government, India’s second highest sporting honour for her achievements as a badminton player.

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