Chennai: Jwala Gutta on Tuesday slammed the Indian badminton authorities and said the sport has been ‘monopolised’ in the country. The 36-year-old said she wouldn’t be surprised if Indian badminton players return from the Tokyo Olympics empty-handed.
“There’s a lot of control over the players. If you tick off one person in the association, they can withdraw your entry. Such hurdles shouldn’t be there in any sport. The whole badminton system has been monopolised. It has to stop,” Jwala said on the sidelines of an awards function here on Tuesday.
A member of the junior selection panel, Jwala said India will depend on the men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty for a medal in Tokyo. “If Satwik and Chirag get injured, who’ll replace them? Is there any player to replace them? We haven’t made any progress in the last 10 years. We are nowhere near China. Who’s after P.V. Sindhu? And when it comes to the women’s doubles, I don’t think they’ll even qualify,” she said, adding, “Being a sportsperson I am hoping against hope. Let’s be positive. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get any medal. That’s what I feel.”
Jwala also spoke on the long-standing tussle with national coach Pullela Gopichand. “I was targetted for not giving him the credit. My coach was Arif sir and I’ve trained under foreign coaches. So there was no need to give credit to others. I was discouraged when I came back after a break. I was thrown out of the team. When I spoke to the chief coach, he said the focus was on 2020. It’s 2020 and where are your players?” questioned Jwala.