Badminton star Jwala Gutta on riding the highs and lows of sport

Two-time Olympian Jwala Gutta suggests getting depressed over losses isn’t an option and neither is getting carried away by success.

By Utathya Nag

Taking mistakes in the stride can be the key to success, believes former Commonwealth Games champion Jwala Gutta.

The two-time Olympian specializes in doubles and is one of the most decorated Indian badminton players of her generation.

Apart from a gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Jwala Gutta also has a World Championships doubles bronze, an Asian Championships bronze and several Badminton World Federation medals in her kitty. 

All the success, however, wouldn’t have been possible without the courage to own up to her mistakes.

“If you lose, if you are aware of your mistakes, you can come back. It should not be the end of the world,” Jwala Gutta told Firstpost in an interview.

“Even if you lose, you must not lose your heart because you should know there will be another chance. Mental awareness, mental steadiness is very important,” she added.

Always look forward

The Indian badminton ace, who has taken a sabbatical since 2017, also stressed that it was equally important not to get carried away by success.

“You should know how to handle your losses and your wins also because even after winning next week there will be another tournament.

“If you are satisfied and relaxed, you will not be able to prepare for the next tournament. And being a sportsperson, every week there’s going to be a new tournament,” she noted.

Managing expectations

Having represented her country at the highest level of the sport for almost two decades, Jwala Gutta knows a thing or two about carrying the hopes and aspirations of billions on her shoulder.

“Expectations will always be there, even when you win nationals, the audience may be smaller. Expectation and pressure are meant to be there irrespective of what level you play.

When you play state level, state association, players around you, your family would expect you to go and win,” said Jwala.

The 36-year-old left-hander put her own advice to good use throughout her career.

Gutta has amassed a total of 316 wins across singles, doubles and mixed doubles on the BWF Tour.