âHYDERABAD: Commonwealth Games gold-winning shuttler Jwala Gutta on Monday said she played with a vengeance at the mega-event to shut the mouths of all those critics who were spreading "baseless" stories of her link-up with former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin.
Jwala said she was deeply hurt by the stories about her personal life in the run up to the Commonwealth Games and accused the Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association of starting the rumours.
"It was quite painful for me. Initially, I heard that the sources they were getting this, was from Andhra Badminton Association. I was shocked that such baseless things could come out from my own fraternity. I was deeply hurt," she said.
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"I am what I am. I got back. I played with a lot of vengeance. I have shut everyone who was talking shit about me," she said.
Jwala, who won gold in women's doubles partnering Ashwini Ponnappa, said the link-up stories did not upset her parents as they knew what she was.
"I knew what I was and I think my parents knew what I was. I did not give any explanation. That was the most surprising thing. I thought they would be upset. But they knew everything. I did not hide anything from anyone," she said.
Still without a sponsor, Jwala said she hoped she would get one after her gold medal in the CWG.
"Me, Ashwini and V Diju, we are looking forward for sponsorships. We don't have a single sponsorship. I hope after this gold, things will change," she said.
"After so much hardship I have been through, I think I totally deserve this and the gold medal means the world to me," she added.
She attributed her success to the support from her family members and coaching by Dronacharya awardee SM Arif.
"If I am strong mentally, nothing can stop me. My family, my parents, my sister, my friends, they were totally behind me.
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"My coach Arif, even if I call him at midnight he picks up the phone. He is always there for me. Atiq sir, who came from Indonesia to train us, I think he played a vital role in our victory," she said.
Jwala said she concentrated on her physical fitness and movement on the court to do well in the just-concluded CWG.
"I don't take any pressure to my head. I don't take any pressures to the court, if you have seen me play. I love the game, I am loving what I am doing. I am happy that my parents are proud that I have won the gold," she said.
"I am totally enjoying my medal. The gold medal in CWG would not put her under pressure for the Asian Games," she said.
"Before every tournament there is a preparation. This (CWG) was like a preparation (for Asian Games). So, I will take a few days rest and I will be back on court."