Saina Nehwal – Badminton Brainchild




Saina Nehwal - Badminton Brainchild

Saina Nehwal – Badminton Brainchild

She is short and wiry. She has defeated some of the world’s biggest champions. Though she’s among the youngest sportspeople, she has the world’s biggest champions looking up to her as an example of focus and determination. She is simple, and does not waste time showing off, unlike other celebrities. She is dedicated, strong and powerful. You must have a pretty good idea now about the genius I am describing. She is the one and only – Saina Nehwal.

Early Life

Saina Nehwal was born on March 17th, 1990. The fiery little Jat was recognised for her talent when she was very young, by her parents who were themselves former badminton players. When she was 8, her father enrolled her in the Lal Bahadur stadium at Hyderabad as a summer trainee under Coach Nani Prasad. Little Saina was then taken to the stadium everyday at 4 am which was 25km away from their home. Here, she would be given vigorous training for 2 hours. She would then be taken to school by her father, who would head off to work. Her mother accompanied them on these journeys to help Saina stay awake. The travelling was proving to be a huge strain, especially when Saina’s training schedule lengthened. So Saina’s father decided to move closer to the stadium. But this increased their living costs drastically. Plus, Saina needed help in the form of better tennis equipment every now and then. So her father took money out of his provident fund to help his child progress. And it paid off. In 2002, sports brand Yonex offered to sponsor the budding champ. After this, she participated in several events, and won them fabulously. She was then offered more sponsorships and her career took off.

Victories and Career graph

Saina made her mark in the world of international badminton when she won the Philippines Open in 2004. She was the first runner up in the 2006 BWF World Junior Championships. In 2008, she won the World Junior Badminton Championships. Saina was the first woman to enter the quarter final round in the Olympics. She made it big finally in 2009, when she aced the Indonesia cup. This is one of the Super Series in the field of international badminton, and is on par with the Grand Slam events of tennis. She is a deserving winner of the much respected Padma Shri award in 2010, and is the brand ambassador for team Deccan Chargers of IPL.

Style and Training

Saina Nehwal’s style is simple. She sets her targets and then charges ahead in full throttle to achieve it. This had proved a little negative for her in the Yonex Sunrise Badminton Asia Championships 2010, when she lost the semi final round. Her coach and mentor, former badminton genius Pullela Gopichand of Hyderabad advised her to slow down. Here, a special mention is prudent. Saina and Gopichand are one of the most explosive mentor-mentee teams of today. With the combined efforts of the two, Saina has been able to achieve higher heights each year. The Indian cricket teams could take a leaf out of their books, for learning the value of trust between a mentee and his coach. Their teamwork is simply superb – mainly because each knows their own worth well enough and neither one craves for limelight or attention.

Saina’s full throttle strategy seems to be working though. Her career path has been soaring since 2002 like a meteor. She has won 3 titles already, and she is hardly 20. She is one of the most promising stars of India. She has joined the tiny, select group of people who have proved to the world that while marketing oneself may bring short term gains, what really counts is talent. Saina Nehwal has got plenty of talent. She combines her natural gifts of having a sharp eye, and placement tactics with hard work and focus. The combination is deadly – and quite a few international badminton players are now feeling wary, because the child prodigy will now be entering adult championships. She is the shining star of our country, and we are all proud of her. Saina Nehwal, though hardly 20, is the biggest role model for most young women. Her story is an inspiration to Indian families – about the value of family support and following one’s dreams. Cheers Saina – here’s to your next victory!

By: Anindita Chatterjee

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