CHENNAI: The stakes of the men’s doubles pair — Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy — have steadily risen since their breakthrough year in 2019. The world No. 10 ranked pair, who made the semifinal of the Swiss Open earlier this month, are touted as one of the medal prospects ahead of the Tokyo Games. However, barring the duo, there hasn’t been any Indian doubles pair that has consistently delivered results in the last couple of seasons.
Jwala Gutta believes the number of top-ranked doubles pairs from India hasn’t gone up in recent years.
“We are still banking on one pair (Chirag-Satwik) to do well in the Olympics. If we compare it with China, they have about 5-6 pairs while we have just one. The doubles (performances) have just gone down,” the former doubles specialist said during the launch of Tamil Nadu Badminton Super league here on Friday.
The 37-year-old feels India can produce more doubles pairs if given the right ecosystem. She is clear that the doubles national camp must move out of the Gopichand academy in Hyderabad.
“The approach, the skillset, the footwork, everything is different about doubles. I have been saying this, the doubles camp has to move away from that particular place (Gopichand academy). Tell me one doubles pair that head coach Gopichand has made till today? I will give him the credit for producing (top-notch) singles players (but not doubles). When you don’t have the expertise with you, what’s the point in keeping it (doubles) with you,” Jwala pointed out.
Has she offered to help the Badminton Association of India (BAI) in this regard?
“I have approached them enough number of times, and they know that I am available” is all that she is willing to state.
Jwala, the 2010 CWG gold medallist and 2011 Worlds’ bronze medallist in women’s doubles, feels doubles players must be given ample chances to make the mark.
“You have to develop doubles players from sub-junior level. The doubles camp should consist of at least 100 players, which means you have 50 pairs. You have to give them assurances that they will be given enough opportunities,” she said.