Delhi Smashers’ Jwala Gutta, who was served a showcause notice by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) for her conduct during a tie against the Banga Beats last month, has found support from the rival team’s coach U Vimal Kumar.
Jwala was asked to explain her conduct during the incident in Bangalore on August 25 where the start of the match was delayed for half an hour after the Delhi Smashers refused to take the court over the Beats’ decision to replace Yun Hu with Jan O Jorgensen. She will have to respond to the notice within 14 days.
Claiming that the franchise owners of Delhi Smashers ought to be answerable for the incident and not a solitary player, Vimal Kumar urged the BAI to go lenient on the doubles shuttler.
“My personal opinion is that it wasn’t Jwala’s fault alone. Players will be players and you can’t stop them from having a say. Plus, she was their icon player and team leader, and fighting on behalf of her franchise. The Governing Council dilly-dallied and should’ve been firm with the franchise owners on that day. You can’t punish one player alone for this,” the Banga Beats coach said.
The drama in the lead-up to the ill-tempered tie in Bangalore had in fact started before the Delhi team arrived. The Beats’ singles player Yun Hu from Hong Kong was carrying a two-month old injury into the tournament and had suffered a wretched time in his previous two games, performing poorly. “He had, in fact, concealed an injury from our Banga Beats management and had even refused an anti-inflammatory tablet to deal with his injury. We had to force him to undergo an MRI scan. He was here only for the money. We were in a real bother and our owner went out of the way to track down Jan O, who was flown in. He was within the price limit, but there was confusion and Delhi reacted to the replacement,” Vimal Kumar explained. Eventually, Delhi Smashers’ HS Prannoy played Jan O.
Trouble arose when Delhi’s Sai Praneeth defied the team’s stand of not