It is less than 10 days for the biggest sporting extravaganza to begin and all eyes will be on the Indian contingent this time, as for once the group of Indian sportsmen looks confident going into the Games and not getting over-odd by the mega event. The whole of India knows that this group has it in them to win more medals than India has ever won in one Olympics.
There are a lot of medal prospects in the 81-member group and one of them is the young shuttler from Hyderabad, Saina Nehwal. She had the potential right from the day she picked up that badminton racquet and now is the time for her to deliver it at the biggest event of them all and going by her recent form, it won’t be a surprise if she manages to achieve what Abhinav Bindra did at the Beijing Olympics.
Saina, who was struggling with fitness and form throughout the last year, has started to peak at the right time. Her title triumphs at Thailand Open and Indonesian Open Super Series proved that the world number five player has not lost her ‘midas touch’ and she is a huge medal prospect for India.
Saina after her Indonesian Open Super Series win said, “Winning two titles and beating so many top players is exciting. I am glad to end on a winning note and I know these wins will encourage several youngsters who are taking up badminton. I had close matches against all of them. But right now Li Xuerui (her opponent in the final, who is not in the list of Olympic qualifiers so far) is in the best of form. She had won four tournaments continuously and was unbeaten for 30 matches. Beating her was a very big thing for me.”
On her preparation for the Olympics, Saina said, “The important part is to be injury free for Olympics. Mentally I am in the right frame of mind, having won two tournaments.” She also added that beating the Chinese is tough but not impossible.
Saina has always been a tough competitor and has achieved the feats unknown to any other women shuttler in India. She is the first Indian women badminton player to have reached the quarterfinals in the Olympics; she is also the first Indian to win World Junior Badminton Championship. She also became the first Indian player to win Super Series tournament when she won the Indonesian Open few years ago. She didn’t stop at that as she won the Singapore Open in 2010, and was once rated number three in the world.
Saina has achieved a lot for her young age and will be looking to add one more feather to her cap in the upcoming London Olympics. Currently she is ranked number five and all the players ranked above her are Chinese. But Saina showed during her recent triumphs that when she is on song than there is no player who can stop her.
This young lady has made India proud on numerous occasions and the entire nation will be praying for her and will be hoping that Saina can do what only one other female athlete has done for India, win an Olympic medal.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News Network
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