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Jwala set to conquer the final frontier

Jwala set to conquer the final frontier

She is the finest doubles player India has ever produced. The spotlight will surely be on her at the Olympics.

Jwala Gutta is the second most famous name in Indian badminton right now after Saina Nehwal. She is big, she is strong and she is one of the contenders to get a medal for India in the doubles categories at the upcoming Olympics in London.

Standing 5ft 10in, Jwala is a force both in women's doubles and mixed doubles. Though she has been playing for a long time, the 28-year-old came into the limelight during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010. She won gold with Ashwini Ponnappa in women's doubles and silver with V Diju in the mixed doubles. Last year in a world championship event in London, she won a bronze in the women’s doubles with Ashwini. It was India’s first medal in the category in a world championship event.

Jwala and Ashwini complement each other very well and that's why many stellar pundits in a medal-yearning country are pinning their hopes on them for a medal. She has a very good understanding with Diju as well. Expectations of this pair are no less.

Not only on the court has she been a newsmaker. The reports of her alleged romance with former India cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin did the rounds for a long time before she vehemently dismissed it.

Very few know Jwala is born to an Indian father and a Chinese mother. Her marriage with former Indian badminton player Chetan Anand continued for almost six years before both legally parted ways last year in June. She has been known for unorthodox views and they are well-documented. Following the Commonwealth Games success, she adorned the covers of many leading magazine in the country, becoming a household name overnight.

It's quite an achievement considering the sporting panorama of the country where it's only cricketers who make the news – most of the time.

Clearly, Jwala has had a chequered life, both on and off the field, and she has been a force in both arenas. Her immense confidence in her abilities makes her stand out from others. She is a true champion and the entire nation expects a medal from her. Anything less than a medal won’t do; she is that good.