By Jwala Gutta
A friend texted me around 2 this afternoon, telling me that the awards selection committee has recommended my name for the Arjuna award. I was quite speechless, overwhelmed and ecstatic because the last couple of years have been really tough for me. There has been a lot of negativity in my life and this is something really very positive finally.
Arjuna Award is big. Incidentally this is also my first award, I never ever won even a state award ! I am happy that the award is being conferred on me, without me having done any lobbying for it. I did not do so because I do not believe in it.
Winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October last year was the most emotional moment of my career. I have won several other titles but CWG gold was special because the Games saw a lot of hype and I too was in the midst of a lot of controversy which put a lot of pressure on me. I came out of all that and for Ashwini and I to become the first pair to win a gold for India in a CWG doubles event, was a high.
In two weeks, we will travel to London for the World championship. This announcement coming before that is a huge morale booster. Any acknowledgment for one’s hard work, particularly from the Government of India is a motivator and makes a sportsperson perform better. Ashwini and I are ranked in the twenties in the world now but with a bit of luck favouring us, we would hope to go far in the tournament.
(Jwala Gutta is one of India’s top badminton players and combines with Ashwini Ponnappa in the women’s doubles and with V Diju in the mixed doubles)
By Jwala Gutta