Jwala Gutta wants domestic badminton beefed up

December 21st, 2010 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) Badminton doubles specialist Jwala Gutta says if the system has to throw up players of international standard, domestic structure has to be strengthened. Gutta, Comonwealth Games doubles gold medallist with Ashwini Ponappa, Tuesday said the existing domestic structure in the country was of no help to the players to improve their skills.

“A strong domestic circuit is important for the sport to flourish in the country and the Badminton Association of India (BAI) needs to do something about it,” Jwala said Tuesday.

Jwala, who was here to promote the national badminton championships, starting Jan 3 in Haryana town Rohtak, said: “There are not enough structured tournaments and often the tournaments are packed at the year-end. These tournaments have to be spaced out right through the year. If there is no proper calendar, it would be difficult for top players to plan their events because of their international commitments.”

“The juniors can benefit from a purposeful calendar of tournaments to prepare for bigger international events. In the absence of a strong domestic structure, the pipeline goes dry, effecting the bench strength.”

Asked how she and her contemporaries have done so well at the international level, Gutta said: “Look at me, Saina (Nehwal), (Parupalli) Kashyap - we are strictly not the products of a domestic circuit. We are doing well because of our regular exposure to international tournaments.”

Talking of the new year, Jwala says she feels fitter after a well-deserved break and is looking forward to another good season.

“The last four years had been gruelling for me, playing both mixed and women’s doubles. So, I took a break and am now looking forward to next year, a crucial one to qualify for the London Olympics.”

On dipping of her mixed doubles ranking, Gutta said she and V. Diju skipped many tournaments because of the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

“The Commonwealth and Asian Games took a lot of our time in preparation and we had to skip a lot of international tournaments. That brought us down in the rankings. Diju also needed some rest as he was nursing a bad back. It was a strenous year for me both physically and mentally, so it was great to win the gold at Delhi CWG. I am fit now and we will be back with a bang.”

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