It was an unbelievable showing by 17-year-old, Saina Nehwal at the recent Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006 when she substituted India's top woman singles player, Aparna Popat, to play first singles in the Team events. All the top Commonwealth singles players who had the unfortunate 'privilege' to meet Saina in the team events succumbed to her youthful exuberance and 'devil-may-care' attitude. Singapore's last Commonwealth Games champion, Li Li, was completely shattered in straight games and this no doubt contributed to her country's elimination from the quarter finals by India, the eventual Team bronze medal winner over New Zealand. England's previous silver medalist, Susan Hallam, was another casualty in the team event but she was lucky enough not to meet Saina in the Individual event and was crowned the singles queen this time when she took revenge on Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo who also defeated her in the Team event in a nail-biting, rubber game finish. Strangely enough, it took Xing Aiying of Singapore to cut short Saina's path in the individual event, albeit in three games. Had Singapore fielded Xing, instead of Li Li, to challenge Saina in the Team event, the team's outcome might turn out differently. But then India also took a risk to place such a heavy burden on young Saina against the experienced Li Li. And it paid off for India. Bellingham of New Zealand also fell to Saina in the team bronze medal stage and with this NZL had to go home empty-handed and thoroughly disappointed the hordes of "Blacks" supporters who flew in for the occasion. Kudos to these supporters who really did their best to uplift the flagging spirits of their fellowmen on the courts. Here are some pics I took of this young shinning star of India, Saina Nehwal. She was vastly different from the very young and shy girl I saw in Singapore about two years ago, although even at that time she showed a lot of promise. She's now grown taller and decidedly stronger!