'I feel sad by the way things have gone in build-up to the Games'
India's top doubles player Jwala Gutta is saddened by the negative publicity surrounding the Commonwealth Games and feels this will put additional pressure on the athletes to deliver during the October 3-14 Delhi event.
A seven-time national doubles champion, Jwala said there are things which should have been better taken care of but the media should also have been a bit "more responsible" while reporting about the event, the build-up to which has been marred by allegations of corruption and shoddy construction work.
"I feel very sad by the way things have gone in the build-up to the Games. There has been so much negative publicity which could have been avoided. Well, the building of stadiums could have been finished earlier but then the Indian government have done so much and such reports would only put pressure on the athletes," Jwala said.
Image: Jwala Gutta (right) and V Diju
'This is the best team we have in years'
"I have not seen the Games Village but my friends who are already there have told me that it is beautiful and really top-class. There are issues with all big events but foreign athletes form an opinion reading the reports which come out, and I feel the media could have been a little more responsible," she said.
Jwala, who will partner V Diju and Ashwini Ponnappa in the mixed and women's doubles respectively at the Commonwealth Games, said the Indian team is in the best form and should win at least four golds in the event.
"This is my third Commonwealth Games and I can tell you we are in the best shape and probably this is the best team we have in years. The Indian government has supported us a lot and this is the best chance we can have to win medals and I feel India should win at least four golds," she said.
Image: V Diju and Jwala Gutta play a return shot during their mixed doubles match at the 2010 Badminton World Championships in Paris
'We have changed badminton history, but still lack sponsors'
Jwala, however, rued the lack of sponsorship for the doubles teams.
"I have given my life to badminton. I have been one of the top players who have always given 100 per cent and made my country proud. I don't want to boast but I and Diju, we have changed the history of badminton to an extent.
"I and Diju have been the top-six pair in the world but till this day, we don't have a sponsor. I don't like complaining but I don't think we have got what we deserve," she said.
Jwala and Diju were paired together by Indonesian Coach Hadi Sugianto for the Jakarta Satellite tournament in 2005 and the duo soon became a formidable team.
Image: Jwala Gutta (left) and V Diju
Their rankings have zoomed in the last one year
After a brief drop in form in 2007, the duo came back strongly and after a string of impressive performances at the international level, won the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold in 2009, before finishing second at the Super Series Masters last December.
Their big wins, saw them zoom from world Number 38 in January 2009 to number seven by December.
Jwala-Diju became the first Indian pair to reach the quarters of the World Championships in 2009 and finished in the final eight once again at the Paris edition of the tournament in 2010.
Image: India's Diju and Jwala Gutta with their runners-up medals at the World Super Series badminton tournament in December