New Delhi: India’s premier women’s doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta on Thursday lashed out at the Indian government after finding herself left out of the scheme to fund the country’s top prospective medal winners at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Jwala’s doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa — 2011 World Championships bronze medallists — was also left out of the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme of the sports ministry that is supposed to fund prospective medal winners.
Badminton has become the first sport to benefit from the scheme. The ministry of youth affairs and sports signed a Memorandum of Understanding with India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL), a company under the finance ministry, to provide financial support to badminton on March 30.
According to the MOU, IIFCL will contribute Rs.30 crore (Rs.10 crore each year for three years) to the scheme under its initiatives for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Jwala came down hard on the government for its decision to exclude the duo from the important scheme.
“So, I just read news about Ashwini and my names not being there in top scheme. The only support we had was of the Govt. of India…and now that also seems bleak,” Jwala wrote on her Facebook page on Thursday.
“The players who are already having lot of corporate support are in the list…and Ash and me not considered. Dont know what more to be done…Kinda tired…kinda disappointed. And if we speak its called cribbing…and if we dont we will be just left out.”
Jwala said that inspite of all the hardships faced by the doubles players in the country, they had still won laurels and were looking towards the government for support in order to sustain their performance at international events.
“We have struggled so much to just play doubles even after the performance which was never expected…but continuously being discouraged like this by association and now the govt…how else r we suppose to motivate ourselves!!!,” she wrote.
Jwala, who partnered Ashwini to bag the gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, said their omission was a big setback in their aim to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
“If want to talk about performance we r currently 18, won 3 medals last year…now aiming to qualify for Olympics which I know many people are not aware how difficult it is in doubles event. Again and again we have only been ignored and if we talk about it is how much we crib,” she said.
The left-handed badminton star said she was bitterly disappointed after being ignored and snubbed by the her own federation.
“And we are constantly put down by our association and chief national coaches who are most happy when we falter and lose and will do anything to make sure that that happens Good,” the 31-year-old said.
“Don’t expect people to understand, but as players who love the sport and have constantly been thrown a rock at by our association and now the Govt, there is only so much one can take. Really disappointed.”
She said that after this exclusion no one should expect any medals from badminton doubles players.
“If after having achieved what we have achieved in our event, which is more or less looked down upon and not encouraged, we aren’t given the support. Nothing can and should be expected in doubles from us and our fellow doubles players as it is extremely hard to be motivated and push oneself.”
Jwala said she was forced to write the travails of her and Ashwini’s agony after being repeatedly given the cold shoulder.
“This write up is only solely cos the feeling of dejection time and again has gone up so high that only Ashwini and me can feel..i don’t expect anything after this.”
The Uber Cup bronze medallist blamed the “system” for conspiring against them and said the reason for the disparity in performances of India’s singles and doubles players was because of the step-fatherly treatment meted out to the doubles specialists.
“Its just a feeling of a dejected athlete who is tired of trying to motivate herself again and again in spite of the system against us!!,” she said.
“Here’s the answer to why our singles players are doing so well as they are and the huge question mark as to why the doubles players aren’t, is purely cause we are constantly pushed down time and again.”