#Rio2016: a tête-à-tête with badminton ace Jwala Gutta

She loves a “little bit of sightseeing,” prefers to travel with her “favourite people,” and is a self-confessed “shopaholic”. Meet the 32-year-old left-handed shuttler from Hyderabad who has been making India proud for the past 15 years.

Arjuna Award winner, Jwala Gutta, speaks to Lonely Planet India about all things travel.

Describe the traveller in you

Holiday would be a good hotel, a good spa and room service and a little bit of sightseeing. One also needs to have good company. I’d love to travel with my favourite people, no racket bag at all and stopping at a good hotel for sure. And lots shopping. I am a complete shopaholic.

What is your first travel memory?

I went to Goa for three days with my parents for their anniversary. I love sea food and Goa is the best place to have sea food.

Where was your last trip?

Last month, when I went for a tournament in Los Angeles. My partner fell sick so I took a day off from training and went to Universal Studios Hollywood.

Have you ever explored any lesser known destination in India? Please share your experience. 


No, but I would like to explore India as I think there are lots of places to see like Kerala backwaters, North India, East India…

Places you are looking forward to explore in Rio de Janeiro?

I’ve never been to Rio, and I haven’t got a chance to create an itinerary for where to shop or eat but then maybe I should.

Which is your favourite badminton city and why?

United Kingdom and Scotland because they’re pretty. I really like the way they take care of their monuments.

Your time in transit is spent doing…

I sleep when I am travelling. I also end up doing most of my shopping at the airport because we don’t get the time to go out.

Things you always carry when travelling?

My phone, wallet, wet wipes, sugar free, lip gloss, rubber band, chewing gum and small bottle of perfume.

Your fondest travel memory?

We all travel in a group, it’s always been fun. We somehow manage to while away the time. Latest one was US and Canada. It was pretty relaxing even though it was really long. I loved eating in US and Canada; the portions were humongous. I especially liked eating cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory.

Your favourite travel snack?

My protein bar.

A funny experience while travelling.

I am really scared of reptiles. My batchmate Sanave Thomas would carry rubber snakes, which gave me quite the start once at Frankfurt airport.

Best travel advice you’ve got?

Eat less when travelling and drink lots of water. Relieve yourself as and when you can as it prevents feet from bloating.

Travel light or…?

I am a poor packer; I can’t leave the stuff behind. I’m not a light traveller at all. I think I’d carry the whole house if I had it my way. My suitcase is always overweight. All in all, I end up carrying one big suitcase, a cabin bag and my racket bag.

As told to Kushan Shekhar.