- ‘We need the government to support us with funds’
- ‘If government does not fund, lot of players will be lost. We are really depending on the government’
- ‘Before Olympics, any tournament we play and win is great. But, the ultimate goal is Olympics’
Fresh from her Canada Open triumph along with Ashwini Ponnappa, ace shuttler Jwala Gutta urged the government to come out and support the doubles specialists in their endeavour to win an Olympic medal next year at Rio.
"We need all the support that top players need. I think what the singles players are getting, if we get that kind of support, I think, Ashwini and me can win a medal at the Olympics, definitely. It will be great. At least now, people who are responsible wake up! I will be really happy," Jwala told PTI upon her arrival from Calgary, Canada.
"I don't know what to do really. I hope that they are at least thinking about it right now. This is what -- being a player, I am supposed to train and practice and only think about my game, what I have to develop and what weaknesses I have to take care of.
"Instead if I have to go to Delhi, spend a day, two or three, go behind them (the government). This is what we should not be doing. We are the best bet in doubles for Olympics and we should be given all the support. At least after the Canadian Open, I hope people and the Ministry of Sports realise and support us. That's all we need," she added.
The 31-year-old said it was crucial for the shuttlers to get government support.
"Lot of players are performing, including singles, only because of government funding. If government does not fund, lot of players will be lost. We are really depending on the government. This TOP scheme is that extra boost," she said.
Jwala insisted that lack of support from the government would make it difficult for the youngsters to take up doubles.
"Definitely (absence of government support would make it tough for the players to get into doubles). After Ashwini and me, I don't see anybody else coming up. You can see it. I stopped playing mixed-doubles and there is no result in mixed doubles. I was world number six. People who are talking about me and my performance and questioning my career and my achievements, where is the next mixed-doubles pair? Please show it to me. I would like to know," she blasted.
Talking about her recent success in Canada Open, Jwala said: "I am very happy, very excited. It means a lot to me. Winning a title in Olympic year is never easy. It has come as a big relief."
"The future looks bright and shiny. Ashwini and me are very happy. The kind of understanding we developed over the years… I think we have matured as players. In Canadian Open, our experience and maturity really helped us to win those matches.
"The lighting in Canada was not as great. It was all white and seats were white. So, there was lot of glare. So, the first match was difficult to spot the shuttle. But I think our experience and the kind of maturity we have developed really helped us."
Stating that her ultimate goal is to win a medal in next year's Olympics, the shuttler from Hyderabad said: "The ultimate goal is Olympics. Before Olympics, any tournament we play and win is great. But, the ultimate goal is Olympics."
She said it was amazing to be appreciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Canada Open win.
"It's amazing (for Prime Minister to appreciate our performance). It really means a lot to Ashwini and me. I know how happy Ashwini was after seeing that message. We are really grateful that our hard work and our achievement was acknowledged by the Prime Minister. It is very rare. I am really grateful," Jwala concluded.