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Shuttler Jwala hits out at Sports Ministry

 NEW DELHI, April 2 (PTI): India’s ace doubles shuttler Jwala Gutta today slammed the Sport Ministry for ignoring her for the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme, saying that she did not deserve such a treatment from the government after all the struggle she had faced to bring laurels to the country.

Jwala, a bronze medallist alongwith Ashwini Ponnappa in the 2011 World Championships, said that she was disappointed to have been left out of the scheme despite being a top shuttler all these while.

“I just read news about Ashwini and my names not being there in TOP scheme. The only support we had was of Govt of India and now that also seems bleak. The players who are already having lot of corporate support are in the list and Ashwini and me not considered. I don’t know what more to be done. I am kind of tired, kind of disappointed,” Jwala said.

“If we speak its called cribbing and if we don’t we will be just left out. 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 are we suppose to motivate ourselves?” she asked.

The TOP scheme identifies medal prospects from a few sports, including badminton, to provide funding for top-class training for the 2016 Olympics. Recently, Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL) has pledged to contribute Rs 10 crore each for three years to the TOP Scheme for shuttlers.

According to sources, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, HS Prannoy, RMV Gurusaidutt, and PV Sindhu are the six shuttlers who have been selected for the scheme by a government-appointed committee, which also include chief national coach Pullela Gopichand.

Jwala and Ashwini, who are currently world number 19, had also written to ministry to extend the support under TOP to them as well as they have a bright chance of qualifying for Rio Olympics after making the Games four years back in London.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games champions, Jwala and Ashwini had clinched a bronze at the Asian Badminton Championship in Gimcheon, a silver medal at 2014 Glasgow CWG and another brown metal during the Uber Cup last year.

“If you want to talk about performance we are currently 19, we won three medals last year. Now we are aiming to qualify for Olympics, which I know many people are not aware how difficult it is in doubles event,” said Jwala, who became the first and the only Indian to qualify in two events — women’s doubles and mixed doubles — at the 2012 London Olympics.

“We have only been ignored again and again and if we talk about it, people say how much we crib. Sacrifices made by our parents and coaches who want us to do well, they are the ones who see what we really go through. And we are constantly put down by our association and chief national coaches.

“I 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 added.

The 31-year-old from Hyderabad said people should not expect doubles event to do well after being discouraged in this way by BAI and government.

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