The Badminton World Federation’s skirt rule (making skirts compulsory for female shuttlers) created a big controversy last year, forcing the rule to be suspended. Ask India’s glamour queen and doubles specialist Jwala Gutta about it, and she makes it clear that she has no problem if the rule is implemented.
“I would love to wear skirts, I don’t mind wearing one-piece either,” the left-hander, who has qualified for London Olympics in two events, said on Friday. “For me glamour means looking good. I want to look good on court, I would not like to look shabby on court. “We are entertainers, we entertain people on court and it adds to confidence when you know you are looking good,” Jwala, who in fact has been wearing one-piece outfit on court, added.
Jwala’s mixed doubles partner V Diju backs the point: “If the skirt rule is implemented, it would add to glamour and would bring in more spectators. The place where I come from, that’s how people think.” Having qualified for the London games two days ago, Jwala explained that the pressure is off now.
Feeling no pressure
“It’s much tougher to qualify for Olympics, than winning a medal. Qualifying for Olympics means you are in the top-13 in the world. I am really feeling pressure free now,” Jwala told MiD DAY. Explaining her point further, the 28-year-old said, “Winning a medal means winning three matches basically (in a draw of 16). If you can play one good match against the seeded pair in your half, it increases your chances of a medal.” Jwala will partner Ashwini Ponappa in the women’s doubles in London, making her the first Indian shuttler to have qualified for Olympics in two events.
That also means she will need to maintain good fitness levels. “I have been playing in two events for quite some time now, I am used to it. But because it’s Olympics, I will work a bit harder on my fitness. I will focus more on my off-court training now, than on it,” Jwala said. Jwala, who feels the entire sports system needs to be more professional than it is, was asked if Saina Nehwal’s achievements become even more commendable, considering the lack of proper facilities and backing in the country.
Despite the system
“I can’t comment about someone else, it would become a political issue. I can speak about three of us (Diju and Ponappa), and I can say that we three are despite the system.”