“Last time, I was very fortunate to get bronze medal. So, hopefully, this time, if I play, I hope to get at least one medal for the country. I hope to be injury-free to participate in Rio Olympics,” Saina, who is recovering from a foot injury, told PTI in an interview in Bengaluru.
Born in a Jat family, Saina Nehwal is the daughter of Harvir Singh and Usha Nehwal. Later, the family shifted to and currently based in Hyderabad, Telangana. The talent and love for badminton hails from within the genes only as her parents were former State Badminton Winners. Saina started playing badminton at a tender age of eight.
Saina Nehwal changed many schools. She studied Lower KG to third standard at Campus School CCS HAU, Hisar where her father used to work. Fourth to the tenth standard at Bhartiya Vidhya Bhawan’s Vidhyasharam School and the National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) School Rajendranagar, Hyderabad. She used to be a shy and quiet student at school.
Saina Nehwal proved her mettle in 2006 when she became badminton under-19 National Champion, followed by victory in the prestigious Asian Satellite Badminton tournament. She is the first Indian to win World Junior Badminton Championships in 2008 and the first Indian to win Indonesian Open – a BWF Super Series in 2009.
During London Olympics 2012, Saina became the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton by clinching a Bronze Medal in the mega event. At present she has won several accolades and rewards. In 2014, Saina Nehwal won Women’s Singles of India Open Grand Prix Gold Tournament in January, followed by Australian Super Series in June. Now she has been declared as World No.7 badminton player.
Saina Nehwal is one of the athletes supported by ‘Olympic Gold Quest’ – a foundation that supports athletes who have potential to win Olympic Gold. She represents Hyderabad Hotshots in Indian Badminton League. She is currently under the mentorship of national coach Pullela Gopichand. She is also the brand ambassador of Sahara India Pariwar.
Throughout her Badminton career so far, Saina has been able to topple some of the top Badminton players of the world in her tournaments. These players include Huaiwen XU, Julia Xian Pei of Malaysia, and the World No. 6 Wang Chen of Hong Kong.