Saina Nehwal- A star of Haryana and hope for Badminton
Despite Badminotn being a regular favorite for the youth of India to keep them fit, the sport at national or even state level has not been able to garner much viewer interest. Leave aside cricket, Badminton does not even have the fan following equal to that of cricket. Though it is true that team sports find much more interest in viewers but then we also have individual game like tennis, a close relative of badminton which still has a respectable fan following. It is not that unlike Tennis stars Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza badminton has nobody to promote it. We have seen some flashes of brilliance in tennis from players like legendary Prakash Padukone and Gopichand but still badminton has not been able to make its place. Not until the arrival of Saina Nehwal.
Early career of Saina Nehwal
Saina has been born in a family of sport players with both her father, Dr. Harvir Singh and mother Usha Rani being former State Badminton Champions in Haryana. She was born in Haryana on March 17th, 1990. Sometime after Saina's birth her family moved to Hyderabad where at a tender age of 8, Saina started her training under Nani Prasad, the Badminton Coach at the Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad. Later she trained under S.M. Arif, a Dronacharya Award winning Badminton Coach and at present she takes training at Pullela Gopichand's Academy of Badminton at Hyderabad.
Saina Nehwal's performance at National level
Saina achieved a lot of milestones in form of awards in her early career itself. She earned the title of Junior Champion in year 2004 as well as in year 2005. In the year 2005 she also won the All India Jr. Ranking Tournaments held at Chennai, Cochin, Bangalore and Pune. In 2005 she came in the category of senior player and won National Senior Championship for three consecutive year- 2006-07-08. She also won the National Games in Badminton held at Guwahati.
Saina Nehwal's performance at International levels
Her first major break in Badminton came when she won the Junior Czech Open in 2003. In the year 2004 she reached Quarter Final at the Cheers Asian Satellite tournament held at Singapore. In year 2005 and 2006 she won the India Satellite tournament. In 2006 she won the Bingo Bonanza Philippines Open title and in the same year itself she reached the pre-quarter final round at the All England Open where she lost from a Chinese player ranked world no 3. In 2007 she reached Quarter Final rounds at the Macau Open tournament 2007 and the Dutch Open tournament. The win that earned her recognition in the media came in the year 2008 in the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold tournament.
She made India proud in the 2008 Beijing games by becoming the first Indian woman ever to reach the Quarter Final rounds of Badminton singles. Her win in the World Junior Badminton Championships also became a proud moment considering it was a first for any Indian. The biggest feather of win in her cap is winning the Indonesian Open in Super Series tournament by defeating higher-ranked Chinese Lin Wang in Jakarta in June 2009. This was first for any Indian. However Lin Wang took her revenge by defeating Saina at the World Badminton Championship at Hyderabad where she suffered a straight game loss of (21-16, 21-19) at the quarter finals.
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