7 September 1983 |
Wardha, Maharashtra, India
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Coach||S. M. Arif|
|Mixed Doubles / Women's Doubles|
6 (XD) 8/5/201013 (WD) 12/22/2011
|Current ranking||21 (WD) 9 October 2014|
Jwala Gutta is a left-handed international badminton player from India who has won the National Badminton Championships fourteen times till 2013. She is a doubles badminton player who has been representing India on the international circuit for more than 15 years and has partnered with Shruti Kurien earlier in her career, but later found greater success with Ashwini Ponnappa and the pair has been consistently been ranked among the top 20 in the world.
The fiery shuttler from Hyderabad has done more for doubles in the country than any other player. Jwala brought recognition for doubles badminton in the country, first with her mixed doubles partner Valiyaveetil Diju and now with Ponnappa in women's doubles.
Jwala has brought numerous medals for Indian badminton including the bronze medal BWF World Championships in 2011 and a gold and silver at 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games respectively in women's doubles which were the first for the country in the discipline. Other achievements include the historic bronze medal at the 2014 Thomas & Uber Cup team event and medals at Badminton Asia Championships and final and semi-final appearances in many big international events most notably the finals appearance at BWF Super Series Masters Finals in 2009 alongside Diju.
Jwala with her successful career and outspoken nature is one of the few recognizable female athletes of the country and has been numerously listed among the top most inspiring sportswomen who broke down barriers and brought pride to the country as well as served as an inspiration to all women of India.
Jwala was born on 7 September 1983 in Wardha, Maharashtra and brought up in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, to a Telugu Indian father and a Chinese mother. Jwala's father, Kranti Gutta, hailed from a family of freedom fighters and Leftists from present day Andhra Pradesh. Her mother, Yelan Gutta, was born in Tianjin, and is a granddaughter of a Gandhian named Tseng. Yelan first came to India in 1977 with her grandfather to visit the Sevagram ashram, where she translated Gandhi's autobiography and other works into Chinese language. She started playing badminton at the age of 6, after shifting from tennis which she had earlier taken up.
Jwala Gutta likes playing aggressive badminton and has a great affinity for netplay, with a great level of skill at the net like good anticipation and deceptive shots. She is considered very dangerous at the net with good reading of the game and great interceptions and is substantially sharp with her strokes at the net. She also has a strong smash from the back court and some handy deceptive drops. She is vulnerable in a few areas the most evident being her movement across the court and can commit errors when forced to move. She also has had some fitness issues in her long career. She is also famous for being one of the only world-class doubles player to still use the forehand service since most other doubles specialists opt for the safer backhand serve.
Performance in Women’s Doubles
In the doubles event her performance has been consistently good as entered the Semi Final round of her second International Doubles tournament, the India Asia Satellite tournament 2002. She also reached the Semi Final round of the Indian Asian Satellite tournament 2004, and finished Runner Up at the LE VOLANT D’OR Tournament, known as TOULOUSE Open in the year 2004. Further, she reached the Final Rounds of the Scottish International tournament 2004 and 40th Portuguese Badminton Championship 2004. In the year 2006 she won the Sri Lanka International Satellite tournament while in the year 2007 she won the Cyprus Badminton International tournament. The same year, she also won at the Pakistan International Challenge tournament and the Indian International Challenge tournament. Apart from these achievements, Jwala won the Nepal International Series tournament 2008 and Yonex Dutch Open Grand Prix 2008 in the Women’s Doubles category.
Jwala then split with her long time partner Shruti due to compatibility issues. She then paired up with young Ashwini Ponnappa from Bangalore who was called up for the national camp just before the Commonwealth Games. She and Ponnappa then went on to win the sensational gold medal in the women's doubles at the New Delhi Commonwelth Games making history of winning the first gold medal for India in the event. Gutta and Ponnappa then became household names after winning the medal in front of home crowd. Later on in 2011 they came up with one of their finest performances when she and Ponnappa etched their names in history books becoming the first Indian pair to ensure a medal at the World Badminton Championships. The pair defeated 12th seeds Vita Marrisa and Nadya Melati of Indonesia 17-21, 21-10, 21-17 to storm into the women's doubles semifinal before losing out to chinise fifth seeds in the semis in London, thereby winning a bronze in the Badminton World Championship.
She played women's doubles as well as mixed doubles ath the 2012 London Olympics becoming the first and the only Indian to qualify in two events in the entire history of the game. Jwala pairing with Ashwini Ponappa lost there their opening women's double match against the Japanese duo of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa. They then went on to beat much higher ranked Wen Hsing Cheng and Yu Chin Chien of Chinese Taipei 25-23, 16-21, 21-18 to register their first win in the group stages. Jwala and Ashwini missed out on a quarterfinal berth by a difference of just one point, even though they beat Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yao of Singapore 21-16 21-15 in their last group B match, after tying with Japan and Taipei on the number of wins. Prior to India's final group game on Tuesday night, the World number five Japanese pair of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa had shockingly lost to Chinese Taipei's Cheng Wen Hsing and Chien Yu Chin, ranked 10th, 19-21 11-21. India lodged a formal protest with the Games organizers to probe if the women's doubles badminton match involving Japan and Chinese Taipei was played in the right spirit, following the elimination of medal hopes Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa but no action was taken. Following the Olympic Games Jwala went to a temporary sabbatical from the game.
In 2014 Commonwealth Games, she won Silver medal in Women's Doubles event pairing with Ashwini Ponnappa.
Performance in Mixed Doubles
In the Mixed Doubles category too, Jwala has shown her excellence as she has grabbed the titles in the Jakarta Satellite tournament and Welsh International tournament in the year 2005, Sri Lanka International Satellite tournament, Cyprus Badminton International tournament and Indian International Challenge tournament in the year 2007, and Nepal International Series tournament, Bitburger Open Grand Prix tournament and KLRC Bulgaria Open Grand Prix tournament in the year 2008. On 30 August 2009, Jwala Gutta partnering Valiyaveetil Diju became the first Indian badminton mixed doubles pair to win a Grand Prix Gold title. They defeated Indonesia’s Hendra Gunawan and Vita Marissa 24-22, 21-18 in the Chinese Taipei Open final. In the quarterfinal, the world No. 7 pair and third seed in the tournament, defeated Korean pair Shin Baek-Cheol and Yoo Hyun-Young and in the semi-final Diju and Gutta prevailed over Malaysians Liu Ying Goh and Peng Soon Chan 21-11, 17-21, 24-22. But the biggest achievement came in the same year where she and her partner Diju reached the quarters of the World Championships and became the first Indians to do so. The Championships were held at Hyderabad, India. The duo, seeded 8th, got a bye in the first round followed by a walkover in the second. In the third round they defeated 12th seed polish pair of Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk 21-11 22-20 in a 31-minute clash. In the quarterfinal they went down to defending champions and second seeds Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir of Indonesia. The Indian pair was beaten 16-21, 14-21 in 27 minutes. The same year they went on to reach the finals of the World Super Series masters final in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. They beat Robert Mateusiak and Nadieżda Kostiuczyk of Poland in straight-games 21-19 21-11. In the final the Indian pair went down to World Championship bronze medallists Christinna Pedersen and Joaquim Nielsen 21-14, 21-18. Pairing V. Diju, Jwala lost her opening match 16–21, 12–21 in just 25 minutes at the Wembley Arena in London Olympics. The pair also lost their next two matches and thus could not qualify for the knockout stage. Despite having enjoyed great success in the Mixed Doubles category, she has shifted her focus on to Women's Doubles event since her sabbatical .
Comeback and IBL
In January 2013, Jwala announced her comeback to the game and partnered Prajakta Sawant since Ponnappa was partenering Pradnya Gadre. The duo had some decent performances and continued together. IBL was announced the same year. Indian Badminton League was a franchise league commercially managed by Indian Sub-Continent's leading sports rights management company, Sporty Solutionz as commercial partners. With the brand value of US$1 million Indian Badminton League was the richest badminton league in the world. Jwala was one of the six marquee players and team captains to be auctioned. The auction itself was not short of controversy. The base price of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa was halved from USD 50000 to USD 25000, without the players' notice and Women's Doubles event was replaced by a second Mens Singles. This left both Jwala and Ashwini hurt and angry. Jwala was bought for USD 31000 and captained the Delhi franchise, but the team did not reach the semis and finished fifth. Gutta and Ponnappa after IBL confirmed on that they were set to reunite. Jwala went on to add that the two decided to come together because of a couple of reasons. The first was the Indian Badminton League's organisers knocking out the women's doubles category from the tournament, which in turn resulted in the base prices of Jwala and Ashwini.
Since their comeback they have been making statements on court with medals at Asian Badminton Championships, and the historic Bronze at the Uber Cup in New Delhi and later a sliver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. 
During her Badminton career, Jwala Gutta began dating fellow badminton player Chetan Anand, who was the 1999 Junior National Badminton Champion and 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2010 Senior National Badminton Champion and has been honored with an Arjuna Award. The couple married on 17 July 2005 and got divorced on 29 June 2011. The divorce gathered rather unwanted media attention and speculations about an affair with tainted ex-cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin also came up, but due to lack of any proof of the news and constant denying from Jwala herself the news never made public believe in it.
Jwala has been seen working for social causes on numerous occasions, be it for women empowerment issues to anti-zoo campaigns she has been a part of them all. Her outspoken nature has often attracted controversies from various groups. According to Gutta, such controversies do not bother her as she had been taught to speak up for whats right and take a stand for herself and others too.
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.
- "BWF content". Bwfcontent.tournamentsoftware.com. Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- Naik, Shivani (6 September 2009). "Orient Express". The Indian Express (New Delhi). Indian Express Group. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
Jwala Gutta has squared off against many players from China on the badminton court. As she celebrates the mixed doubles Grand Prix gold she won last week, she tells us about her Chinese connection
- Sharma, Sanjay (10 August 2009). "Jwala Gutta's got the spark – Gandhiji impressed". MiD DAY (Hydrabad). Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Jwala Gutta focusing on fitness to be battle-ready for Olympics". 28 June 2012.
- "Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponappa lose Olympic opener". 29 July 2012.
- "Jwala, Diju lose opening match". 28 July 2012.
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