Born on the 7th of September 1983, Jwala Gutta was initially inclined to tennis but turned to badminton at the age of 6 with SM Arif being her first coach. She won her 1st title at the age of 17 at the Junior World Championships that were held in Thrissur in 2000. Jwala then won a staggering seven straight National Senior Doubles Championships in the Women’s Doubles with Shruti Kurien between 2002 and 2008 and they tasted success on the international circuit as well, winning the Sri Lanka International Satellite Challenge in 2006, the Cyprus Badminton International Tournament, the Pakistan International Challenge and the Indian International Challenge in 2007, the Nepal International Series and the Dutch Open Grand Prix titles in 2008. After 7 years, Jwala decided to change partners and found a new one in Ashwini Ponnappa. The duo began their partnership on an extremely positive note, winning the Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and then a year later became only the second after Prakash Padukone to win a medal at the World Championships, clinching the bronze at Copenhagen. However, they couldn’t replicate those feats at their maiden Olympics in London in 2012, getting eliminated in the quarterfinal in controversial circumstances. The Olympics was more significant fo Jwala as she became the first Indian to qualify in two events at the Summer Games, partnering V.Diju in the Mixed Doubles. After a sabbatical, she returned to partner Ashwini in 2013 and the duo won the silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, a bronze at the Asian Games in Incheon and a year later won the Canada Grand Prix Gold. Now heading into her third Olympics, Jwala will hope to achieve her dream and become the first doubles player from the country to win the coveted Olympic medal.
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