Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nothing less than two gold will do for me: Gutta Jwala

New Delhi: In 2002 Manchester, she was a novice taking her first steps in badminton but eight years down the line, Jwala Gutta is one of the best medal prospects for India at the Commonwealth Games and the 27-year-old says she will not let her country down.

The seven-time national doubles Champion Jwala will pair up with V Diju and Ashwini Ponnappa to spearhead the Indian challenge in mixed and women's doubles events and she said she is eyeing two gold medals at the October 3-14 Delhi event here.

"During the Manchester Commonwealth Games, I was very young and new. I still remember those days, it was a different experience for me. Gopi was playing in those days. But now I have grown as a player a lot would be expected of me and Diju. I am ready for it," Jwala said.

"I am looking to win two gold medals, nothing less than that. Me and Diju had good exposure this year, thanks to the government's support. We have grown as players in the last couple of years and foreign teams are now scared to face us.

"We had good training sessions in the last month, where we have worked on the mistakes committed during the world championship. I am looking forward to performing at home," she said.

Asked about the level of competition, Jwala said, "Frankly speaking, it might not look so but there is tough competition in doubles. Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and England have good teams. But I know they are beatable.

Diju said the Asian teams can be handled but England will be a tough team.

Talking about her chances in women's doubles, Jwala said she and Ashwini have performed well since pairing together last year.

"Ashwini has suddenly grown as a player in the last couple of months. We have consistently played well. She is young and sharp and I believe we can win a gold," Jwala said.

Ashwini said the pair is working on their defence.

"We are working to sharpen our different areas. We have a good attack and we are now working more on our defence, also focusing on strength and speed," she said.

"The Malaysian pair would be a tough challenge. We have played three extended games with them when me and Jwala started playing together. But we have improved a lot in the last one and a half years and should be able to beat them, if we play to our strength," she said.
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