Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa call it quits; Gutta to end women’s doubles career
Three months after the Rio Olympics, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have decided to part ways for the second time in their career.
The two, who formed easily the most successful doubles partnership in Indian badminton and ranked 26th in the world, had previously split in 2013, before reuniting a few months later after limited success with other partners.
“I won’t be playing any more with Ashwini. I won’t be playing women’s doubles either,” Gutta told ESPN.
Gutta said her decision to end her women’s doubles career stemmed from the one she made to split with Ponnappa, with whom she featured in two Olympics, won a Commonwealth Games gold, bronze medals at the world championships and Asian Games and two more bronze at the Uber Cup team championships.
“I am not at the stage of my career where I want to groom a junior,” said the 32-year-old.
Gutta will now play mixed doubles with Manu Attri, who featured in the men’s doubles event at the Rio Games. Ponnappa will continue her women’s doubles career, partnering Sikki Reddy.
While hinting at “unnecessary external factors,” Gutta says she knew that the partnership had run its course at the Rio Olympics, where she and Ponnappa exited following three straight defeats in the group stage. “I realized that Ashwini and I weren’t growing as a pair. I felt that we were stagnating. Whenever I expected a lot, the results were not coming. So I thought, ‘why don’t I let her play with someone else?’ It was a very difficult decision to make, but one that had to be made,” she said. The parting she says was a mutual one. “Ashwini and I have had many good times and I would like to keep it like that,” she said.