Jwala ready to partner Prajakta

Jwala Gutta is keen on returning to action and wishes to hit the badminton courts pairing up with young Prajakta Sawant for two tournaments, starting with the German Open Grand Prix Gold (Feb 26- March 3) at Mulheim an der Ruhr and followed by the All England Open Premier Super Series at Birmingham from March 5-10 March.

"I'd like to play just those two meets with Prajakta and then resume playing with Ashwini Ponappa thereafter," Jwala said. "Of course this is subject to BAI selecting us to the Indian squad, and I've asked Prajakta to send Mr Dasgupta — the BAI president — an e-mail stating my willingness to pair up with her," she added.

Prajakta, who was named in the Indian squad, has not reported to Hyderabad for the national camp yet. It's an intriguing development since Prajakta had controversially dragged the chief national coach P Gopichand to court and found vocal support from Jwala.

Jwala sees this as both a badminton decision as well as showing support to the beleagured youngster who has struggled to find playing partners, but also been guilty of dumping her last two partners on her whimsical father's insistence and risked being left unpaired for the start of season.

It's also only a stop-gap arrangement since Ashwini had promised to play with Pradnya Gadre until March and signed her approval, sought by the BAI in times when doubles partnerships get forged amidst plenty of confusion. "Ashwini had promised to play with Pradnya till March so it wouldn't be right on my part to break that partnership. Prajakta's the next best player in doubles as I see it. There are others, but I prefer partnering someone who is focussed exclusively on doubles and doesn't play singles. Since she was the next best we have, I thought why not," Jwala said. She insisted there was no mischief given her views were all out in the open. "But I still have to speak to Akhilesh sir," she stressed.

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