Mumbai: Jwala Gutta, the ace badminton doubles star, has been requesting the Badminton Association of India (BAI) to hire the services of a specialist coach since the last couple of years. And her efforts bore fruit when BAI finally brought top doubles coach Kim Tan Her on board last week.
However, this appointment has not been officially communicated to her, so on Saturday, the 31-year old was guarded when asked about Kim’s new assignment in India. “I hope any doubles coach – whoever is coming – takes charge of doubles players in the country. This is what we need right now,” Jwala said on the sidelines of the inauguration of an indoor multi-sport facility at the Singhania School in Thane.
“There should be no interference what so ever. He should be the sole decision maker and he should be the head coach for doubles. That’s how it should be. There should be a separate doubles camp as well,” she added. Over the years, she has seen Kim work with players from England and Korea, but has not had an opportunity to interact with him. “I have seen him a lot of times. He was with the English and Korean sides. But, we have just said hi to each other on tours,” she said.
Gutta has also not yet been informed about her induction into the TOP (Target Olympic Podium) scheme, but, was confident it would be of great help to her and her partner Ashwini Ponnappa, if these reports are true. “I haven’t got any official intimation yet. It’s just through the media that I have come to know about it. If that’s happened, then it’s really great. Ashwini and me really rely on government support, and this extra help will boost our performance and morale in the crucial Olympic year,” she said.
After her triumph in the Canada Open Grand Prix in June, Gutta’s claim that she and Ashwini were being given a raw deal by not being included in the TOP scheme, led to a controversy, so much so, that national coach Pullela Gopichand found himself defending himself against her outburst. “Nobody likes to be in controversies. But, nothing was happening. Somehow I failed to communicate and send a message across. Then, I was hearing a lot of comments like, it was a lowly Canadian Open and the win wasn’t a big deal. These remarks hurt me a lot. Tell me, if we are not performing, how are we ranked 12th in the world,” she asked.
— Dhananjay Roy, TNN