Jwala Gutta questions centralisation of power, launches own academy

Jwala Gutta's new academy, expected to begin operations in the next couple of months, begins with badminton before opening up other disciplines.

Jwala Gutta speaking during the launch of her academy in New Delhi.   -  PTI

Echoing the growing murmurs in the Indian badminton circles, doubles specialist Jwala Gutta has questioned the centralisation of badminton power in Gopichand Academy and how the conflict of interest involving Pullela Gopichand has not been made a talking point.

“He (Gopi) is the chief coach, chief selector, owns his coaching academy, holds the posts of District Association President, secretary of Telangana Association, is a part of Khelo India, Premier Badminton League, TOP scheme, GoSports Foundation etc. It’s all on paper, not my imagination. So if there is a conflict of interest, ask questions,” she asked media persons soon after the launch of Jwala Gutta Academy of Excellence here on Tuesday.

Questioning the idea behind holding the national camps only at the Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad, Jwala said, “I have attended camps at many places such as Bangalore, Jalandhar, and after 2006, it has only been happening at the Gopichand Academy. Personally, I had no problems since I live there, but it is not fair. Why camps only in Hyderabad?”

Raising the pitch, Jwala asked, “Tell me how many Telugu players are there in Indian team? Are you trying to tell me that in last 10 years India couldn't produce a non-Telugu player to play for the country? Even people who are non-Telugu, they are playing for Telangana state.”

Asked if she believed that playing for Gopichand Academy was seen as a passport to get into the Indian teams at various levels, Jwala said, “I don’t think so.”

Responding to a question about Gopi’s recent comment that he had no authority, Jwala said, “When I read that interview, I had a laugh. How could anyone, who built the system since 2006 and stays in charge even to this day, complain of not having authority?”

Presently on the junior selection panel, Jwala said, “I can't think of one doubles player with whom I want to play today. I think is we need a complete overhaul in doubles. We need a different ecosystem for doubles, that how doubles will come up. Doubles doesn't need just a coach right now. It needs correction in the administration of doubles. The whole system is wrong in doubles now.”

Academy launched

Earlier in the day, the Jwala’s Academy of Excellence was launched by former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy in the presence of Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh, besides Jwala and her father Kranti.

The 55-acre Academy, located about 30 minutes drive from Gopichand Academy, is expected to a world-class facility. It is expected to begin operations in the next couple of months. With a tie-up with Sujata School, 100 residential slots are also available. With 14 badminton courts under the supervision of Dronacharya Awardee Mohammad Arif, the academy begins operations with badminton before opening up other disciplines.

“My role will be that of a mentor and I obviously want to focus more on doubles. Since I am not trained to coach, I will help the children by sharing my experience. There will be a lot of work since I will be dealing with parents, coaches, children and looking after every aspect that makes my academy different from the rest,” she said, before adding, “One more thing is sure. I will pay my coaches well and look after them.”

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