Mumbai: The Badminton Association of India’s attempt to make an example out of Jwala Gutta by threatening to impose a life ban on her for her role in an IBL controversy might have gone one step too far, as the fiery shuttler has been advised to seek legal recourse and not go down without a fight. Gutta’s long-time coach SM Arif was livid upon hearing about the disciplinary committee’s recommendation of a life ban, and said that the BAI was digging its own grave by punishing its own player.
“I’m surprised, and want to know why the story was leaked slyly to the media and Jwala wasn’t sent a notice informing her of the likely ban, in which case she could have responded. It’s absolutely absurd that the disciplinary committee has gone ahead recommending a ban without taking facts or the reality into consideration. I will be advising her to go to court,” Arif said. A circular of the recommendation was sent to members, but the implementation was left to the discretion of BAI president Akhilesh Dasgupta who is believed to have said that an unconditional apology from Gutta would be enough for the BAI to climb down and not impose the ban.
Gutta was not available for comment, citing a gag order.
The BAI sent out the circular saying the disciplinary committee headed by BAI vice president S Muralidharan had recommended a life ban on Gutta for trying to stop some players from her franchise Delhi Smashers from playing a match against Banga Beats in the IBL. Delhi had threatened to pull out of the match over the last-minute replacement of injured singles player Hu Yun of Hong Kong with Denmark’s Jan Jorgensen — a higher ranked shuttler.
As an icon player of Delhi Smashers, Jwala was at the forefront of the argument, which was resolved after Beats left out Jorgensen and played Arvind Bhat, who was already part of the team. However, the start of the tie, telecast live, was delayed by half an hour.