Jwala Gutta believes Indian badminton needs 'complete revamp' in doubles, calls for more home-bred coaches

Amit Banerjee

New Delhi: Indian badminton has been on the rise in recent years. The likes of PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth, among others have been giving shuttlers from traditional powerhouses a tough challenge.

Having said that, India as a badminton nation still has a lot of catching up to do as far as the China's and the Japan's are concerned. The standards certainly have been raised by several notches off late.

One aspect that still needs plenty of work and needs to improve significantly is the doubles format as far as specialist Jwala Gutta is concerned.

Gutta, who has won multiple medals in women's and mixed doubles including a bronze in the 2011 World Championships (women's doubles) and the 2010 Commonwealth Games (women's doubles), stated some hard facts as far as the present scenario for her format is concerned including the lack of quality players.

"I can't think of one doubles player who I want to play with today. That's the fact. I'm in the selection panel, I see the list, I've seen the players play," she said at the launch of the Jwala Gutta Academy of Excellence in the national capital on Tuesday.

"So what I told is, we need a complete revamp in doubles in the country. You need a completely different ecosystem for doubles. That's when doubles will come up. Otherwise it's going to be the same," said the shuttler, who also serves as a selector and an administrator.

Gutta, who added she might consider making a comeback in the sport in order to revive India's fortunes in women's and mixed doubles, further went on to state that India also needs more coaches and that responsibility cannot fall on the shoulders of few people.

The Hyderabad resident was especially vocal of roping more quality Indian coaches, and not just foreign ones. Gutta stated she had a hard time finding coaches for her upcoming academy - which will be based in the Telangana capital.

When asked about the reason behind the dearth of quality coaches in the country, she pointed to the fact that coaches aren't given as much respect as the players are, unlike what happens in a powerhouse like China.

"I feel it's high time we create a programme where we make our Indian coaches as capable, which we're not doing at all. We're not at all paying attention. If you see, we don't really value our coaches or teachers."

"Even Arif sir (veteran coach SM Arif)  has done so much for the country, but there's no acknowledgement... The government has to step in now and make a system to make coaches first. The better the coaches, the better the players."

"If we really want to beat China, then follow a part of their system. They respect their coaches, their coaches are (placed) at a high pedestal. Players here are not playing politics with coach. Over here, players get everything after winning," added Gutta, holder of four CWG medals.

Gutta's sports academy, which launches in January, will also include training facilities for sports other than badminton, including cricket and swimming.

"I had a vision of creating an academy for passionate minds in order to help them achieve the success they are destined for. With the Jwala Gutta Academy of Excellence. I will strive to inculcate discipline in those who are willing to learn and towards making them good and contributing members of society," said Gutta at the launch, which was also attended by Olympic medallists €" boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar.

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