Malaysia Masters loss in the past, Jwala focused on making Rio cut

  • Sharad Deep, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
  • Updated: Jan 28, 2016 14:31 IST
Jwala Gutta defended her second round loss at the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold at Penang in Malaysia with partner Ashwini Ponnappa, saying that it wasn’t her day. (PTI Photo)

Top Indian women’s doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta on Wednesday defended her second round loss at the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold at Penang in Malaysia last week, saying that it wasn’t her day.

Gutta, while pairing with Ashwini Ponnappa, lost to Japanese duo of Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito 14-21, 17-21 in just 37 minutes to crash out of the tournament.

“We were playing together after a long time, and that made a big difference to us at the event,” Gutta told HT soon after winning her first round match of the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship in Lucknow on Wednesday. “That wasn’t my day,” she added.

Currently ranked 14th in the world, Gutta is very much hopeful of a ticket to the Rio Olympics, but right now she is more focused on success in multiple events. “Now, every match is important for me, and I am taking one match a time. Right now, I am targeting a win here in order to gain some valuable points for the Rio Olympics qualifying.”

Jwala added that while playing with shuttlers from China, Malaysia, Japan and Korea in the Modi tourney was exciting for the Indians to rub their shoulders with and to learn from, she admitted that even for someone of her level things weren’t easy. “You have to give your best shot in every match as the field is rich and quite challenging also.”

She, however, admitted that playing in Olympics has always been a pressure game for everyone, but it all depends on the individual and how he or she takes it. “I believe in positive thinking and I believe that pressure vanishes once you keep thinking positively,” added Jwala, who is aiming to crack the top 10 in the world ranking before the deadline for Olympics qualifying comes to an end on May 5.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Gutta claimed that there was less focus on doubles in India. “It’s true that entire focus of Indian badminton is on singles in both the categories, but we (her and Ponnappa) have been trying hard to make it popular as singles are by achieving success at the national and international levels,” said Gutta, who also had a bronze medal in the 2011 World Championships.

For Gutta and Ponappa, before playing at the Rio Olympics (August 11 to 20), there will be ample opportunity to better their positions in the ranking, and the upcoming Badminton Asia Team Championship (Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers) from February 15 to 21 at Hyderabad and India Open at New Delhi from March 29 to April 3, would be the best opportunities for them to avail.

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