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Thread: Saina Nehwal
05-30-2012, 11:54 AM #766
Talk is cheap. With the OG just round the corner and she got thrashed by Bae Youn Joo in the India SS QF and just before that tourney ousted by another new CHN hopeful,19-yr-old Chen Xiaojia. Much has been said about her WR5 standing but we aren't even confident she'd consistently beat any of the other non-CHN players such as Sung JH, Inthanon R, Tai TY, J Schenk ,Tine Baun.
However,we've to admit she does occasionally beat the top CHN players, two at most but never three in a row. Therefore, the best we can hope for her is to win those occasional matches during the London OG and hope she meets only two of them or hopefully one of the CHN players gets sensationally knocked out by some other player. Precisely, winning the OG is easier than the SSP where all the top 4 CHN players plus a few no less dangerous wannabes are fielded.
I've to admit, Saina does give me an impression of arrogance when I compare her with all the other non-CHN players, Juliane, Tine et al. But I'm not irked by it provided she walks the talk and delivers results that match her words. To think she has tripped so many times in India, shouldn't she learn to tone herself down and let her racquet do more of the talking? Well,if she has the right to be arrogant to her opponents as someone said, what more China but do we hear the Chinese players doing that? Only LYB did and what happened? He had to eat humble pie,witnessed the Uber Cup 2010 - this time round,he knew better. Let the coaches talk big if they want to, not the players, but I feel it won't do them any good. I myself prefer the strong and silent type - actions speak louder than words.
No,I'm not ruling out her chances,only saying hers is at most as good as any non-CHN contestants, not better. Actually,I'd rate Sung JH, Inthanon R and Tai TY's chances higher than hers. Saina's experience in the previous OG doesn't count for anything as it's only once in 4 years.
Last edited by Justin L; 05-30-2012 at 11:57 AM.
05-30-2012, 12:08 PM #767
05-31-2012, 02:55 AM #768
Watching her play in 2008, I too thought 2012 would be her year. But maybe not. Or maybe surprised.
05-31-2012, 03:13 AM #769
We'll never know until OG. So, lets sit tight and enjoy the show. No point speculating now.
If I am the coach, I'll make her fitter by 20% and make sure that those shots are polished. Both offensive and defensive. She need all the tricks she need to overcome the china great wall again.
She doesn't do well in England tho. That's the catch.
05-31-2012, 04:55 PM #770
I am waiting to hear what statement she is going to make about Indonesian players during the Indonesian Open.
If she insults or belittles any Indonesian women players indirectly, then she has gone too far and a hate campaign should be setup to condemn such arrogance !!!
She has the audacity to accuse Chinese players of cheating to beat her and will she cross the line again by making fun/teasing Indonesian players. We will check the headlines :P
Last edited by Miqilin7; 05-31-2012 at 04:58 PM.
05-31-2012, 07:27 PM #771
05-31-2012, 09:40 PM #772
The New Badminton World Order - An Indian Perspective
A New World Order in the Offing?
Dev S. Sukumar
Posted: Wed, May 9 2012. 8:47 PM IST
For a sport with such a recent history at the Olympics (since 1992), it’s interesting that London 2012 might well mark badminton’s biggest break from its past. There are unmistakable signs that a new world order will set in once the Olympics are over. India, among other resurgent nations, promises to occupy a leading role in this new order.
World badminton today feels like a long-running show, one that has become increasingly popular but whose star cast is waning. For what seemed an eternity, the show was dominated by a few big stars. The rest of the cast held fond hopes of a more equal order, but kept falling short. Now, fuelled by a decline of the traditional superpowers and altered socio-economic scenarios, there seems to be a change in the script. The major players are fading, and the side actors are preparing for their place in the spotlight.
Ever since World War II, when badminton went truly international, a few countries took to the game so well that they never relinquished control—Malaysia, Indonesia, Denmark, and later, China and Korea. The top rung was unchallenged by the ones below it.
India seemed to occupy a different world. In the 65 editions of the All England Championships since 1947, Indonesia has won 40 titles in all five categories; India, two. In 26 Thomas Cup (men’s team) events, India has not reached the final once, while Indonesia has won it 13 times and China, eight.
But that’s bound to change now: A decimation of hierarchies is on, and nobody is clear on what lies ahead. Indonesia is in a shambles; so is Malaysia. Denmark and Korea have problems that defy easy solutions.
The Indonesian team is led by a couple of veterans (Taufik Hidayat and Sony Dwi Kuncoro) who will not last beyond the Olympics; the Malaysians are excessively dependent on their talisman, the world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, who has spoken of retirement after the London Olympics. Neither country has a replacement for its stalwarts. Denmark’s iconic player, Peter Gade, will retire soon, while its women’s singles has nobody to turn to after the veteran Tine Baun (32). Korea seems excessively fond of its doubles, to the detriment of its singles talent. In other words, with the exception of China, the other powers are either in decline or faced with chronic problems.
In the meantime, countries such as Thailand, India, Chinese Taipei and Germany have grown steadily in strength. At the Thomas Cup preliminary rounds in February, India lost narrowly to Indonesia by 2-3—a margin that would’ve been unthinkable just five years ago. Meanwhile, at the European Team Championships (14-19 February in Amsterdam), Germany beat Denmark for the European Women’s Team Championships crown.
With Saina Nehwal leading the challenge, and the arrival of P.V. Sindhu, the women’s game suddenly looks healthy. The top two Indian men—P. Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram—are ranked in the 20s and have scored wins against higher-ranked players, but neither has been consistent.
What is encouraging for India is that there is a clutch of younger players close on their heels. Of this young bunch, 19-year-old Sai Praneeth is reckoned to be the most naturally gifted.
National coach P. Gopi Chand is optimistic: “What is exciting is that we have a good bunch of young players in Sai Praneeth, H.S. Prannoy, K. Srikant, Sourabh and Sameer Verma. Along with Kashyap and Jayaram, this means a bunch of eight-10 prospects that no other country has. P.V. Sindhu is coming up, and she’s just 16. If you look around, you’ll see that other countries are struggling to produce players. Even Denmark doesn’t have a prospect in the women’s singles after Tine Baun. We already have two good players in Saina and Sindhu. And Saina is just 22.”
Gopi Chand is unsure yet if any of the men can make the top 10, but states that India now stand as good a chance as any other team. “There’s a huge scope for India to do well, but there should also be willingness from the players. These are exciting times, it’s a great challenge,” says Gopi Chand.
Doubles player Rupesh Kumar, a vital part of the team over the last decade, believes India can be No. 2, after China, in a few years. “No other country has a bunch of promising singles players as India does,” Kumar says. “After Chong Wei, Taufik and Peter Gade retire, and apart from the Chinese, there is no extraordinary player, no player who cannot be beaten. With our strength in singles, we can aspire for the No. 2 position in around three-four years.”
The turnaround hasn’t come about suddenly. Part of the reason is the increased exposure of Indian players to the international circuit since 2006, as preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. While earlier generations of players were awestruck by the power of opponents from China, Indonesia and the like, the current generation, exposed to international badminton before its teens, talks almost dismissively about them.
“They don’t hit all that hard,” says Ashwini Ponnappa, bronze medallist at the 2011 BWF World Championships, who will play the doubles with Jwala Gutta at the Olympics. “It’s not difficult to handle them. It’s just a matter of being consistent at the crucial moments in the game.”
Another factor that has aided the Indian upsurge is expertise in training on and off court. Indonesian coaches such as Hadi Sugianto, Atik Jauhari, Hadi Idris and Edwin Iriwan have brought their techniques of training to Indian camps, and players have benefited as well from professional physical trainers. The Indian team’s travelling physio, Kiran Challagundla, offers expertise earlier teams had to do without.
Meanwhile, as India sees increased government and private money coming to badminton, the socio-economic situation has changed in Indonesia and Malaysia. Badminton is not the sport of choice it used to be. “When I was growing up, I was forced to play badminton because that was the only way I could make some money,” former Indonesian chief coach Lius Pongoh told this writer recently. “But nowadays, youngsters have other means, so they don’t need to work hard at badminton.”
The new world order will see China maintain its position on top, but No. 2 to No. 10 (depending on what measure you choose) will be a scramble between nations that will be harder to predict than before. The difference between countries has lessened.
“I’m excited,” is a simple statement from Gopi Chand, who was asked recently by the England coach Kenneth Jonassen: “What have you done? We don’t even have one singles player, and you already have Sindhu following behind Saina. What’s the story in India?”
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05-31-2012, 10:01 PM #773
Saina: "I see the medal, and I want it"
‘I see the medal, and I want it’
Saina Nehwal says when she is at her best, no one can beat her. She is currently training to achieve that invincibility
By Rudraneil Sengupta
(Posted: Fri, Apr 13 2012. 10:10 PM IST)
It’s 6am, and Saina Nehwal, bleary eyed, climbs the broad stairs that lead to the badminton hall at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad. Fifteen minutes later, the last vestiges of sleep wiped away, Nehwal is doing what she does best—using her quick feet to chase down shuttlecocks, squeezing out returns that look out of her reach, rising high to smash with brute power. The screeching sound of her sneakers fills the air inside the aircraft hangar-like hall as Pullela Gopi Chand, her coach, takes her through the first drill of the day.
“Cross,” Gopi Chand says. “Pick up. Smash. Cross. Jump. Cross,” alternately dropping the shuttle at one corner of the net or lifting it high towards the back of the court. Nehwal retrieves.
This is the prelude to a battle—at this juncture, the most important fight in Nehwal’s career: the 2012 London Olympics. “The medal drives me,” she says. “I see the medal, and I want it.” She had wanted it back in 2008, at the Beijing Olympics, and she came close. She was up 11-3 in the third and deciding game in the quarter-final, the first Indian woman to reach that stage, before losing her momentum and the match. “I thought, for just a few seconds, that my god, I’m so close to winning this!” Nehwal says. “And that’s when it all went wrong. I got too tense and too excited, and I lost.”
How will her experience in 2008 shape her campaign this year? “I’m not going with 2008 in my mind,” Nehwal says. “It’s a different time, a different tournament, and I’m a different player.”
All this is evident: She had just started making inroads into world badminton in 2008, at the age of 18—now she is 22 and world No. 5 (after having touched a high of world No. 2). She had won a bronze in the 2006 Commonwealth Games before she rushed into the Olympic quarter-final, and now she has four Super Series titles and four Grand Prix titles (a notch below the Super Series in importance), as well as a Commonwealth Games gold (2010, Delhi). Yet there’s one lesson from 2008 that still drives her. “I’ll never make the mistake of thinking that I’ve won while I’m still playing a match,” she says. “Even if I’m match point up, I have to stay absolutely focused and strong and fight for the next point. That loss in 2008 was needed. It made me strong.”
It’s 8am, and Nehwal is not preparing for war, she is at war. She stands on one side of the court. On the other, four players line up against her—Gopi Chand, Nehwal’s co-trainees, world No. 30 Parupalli Kashyap and world No. 43 Guru Sai Dutt, and Dwi Kristiawan, the Indian badminton team’s Indonesian coach. Four-on-one is a joke, but Nehwal still looks like she is out to win. Her face is stoic, her lips sealed in a thin, grim line, her eyes have a cold rage. She returns everything they throw at her. She’s pumped up, wired as tautly as the netting on her racket, as she picks up smash after smash that whizzes at her. When the body tires of this mad dance of reflexes, and she fails to pick up the shuttle, her face screws up in disappointment. “C’mon!” she screams at herself. Then she stares at the floor for a few seconds, steadies herself, and gets back in position to resume the battle.
“If I’m at my best on a day, nobody can beat me,” Nehwal says. “I feel that I’m world No. 1.”
Like her game, her words too are edged with steel. But this is not just cockiness—this is how she conditions and trains her mind to take on the intense pressure of competition, to remain calm under fire. “For different people it’s different, but Saina is somebody who wins matches when she goes in with the belief that she will win,” Gopi Chand says. “At the moment, she is supremely confident. But whichever way you go, the important thing is that when something unexpected hits you, when something pulls you down, you still have the ability to remain calm and focused.”
In that respect, Nehwal has gone through her most severe test yet. After the high of 2010, where she won three Super Series titles, two Grand Prix titles, and a Commonwealth Games gold, 2011 went awry. She fought with Gopi Chand and began training under a different coach, injured her ankle, and most tellingly, managed to win just one tournament, the Swiss Open. Though both Gopi Chand and Nehwal refuse to talk about the reasons for their tiff, the turmoil had severe effects on Nehwal. “To be away from my coach and my normal training was devastating,” she says. “I missed not talking about my games with him, I felt uncomfortable; nothing was going right.”
As the losses mounted, so did Nehwal’s frustration. “I’m not old enough to take things easily, so every loss, every criticism hurt me bad,” she says. “I cried a lot, and nobody can really stop you from crying when you are feeling that bad.”
In mid-June, she took the first step to recovery—patching up with Gopi Chand after the four-month separation, and going back to training under him. “Everything started falling back in place,” she says. Gopi Chand began counselling her. “He told me ‘you are the best player we have, and you will only go up, so stop worrying about these things and make improving your game your only headache, and the results will come’.”
Nehwal put her faith in him, stopped reading newspaper articles on her, and cleared her mind of everything but her training. The road back was slow and methodical—first the recovery from the ankle injury, then losing the extra weight she had put on because of the layoff, then increasing her speed, and finally improving her game. “I had to add more variety to my strokes,” she says. “I needed to learn how to get close to the net quicker, improve my back foot strokes and my net-play—just about everything needed to get sharper and more effective.”
She felt she was back to her best in December, and in March, she successfully defended her Swiss Open title. “By the end of the year, Saina had beaten most of the players whom she had lost to earlier in the year,” Gopi Chand says. “You might as well make your mistakes in the year before the Olympics when there’s still time to rectify them. I’m happy to say that she has been able to find that balance and things are on the right track for her.”
It’s 12.30pm, and Nehwal has been on the court for nearly 6 hours now, with a couple of breaks thrown in. Her forehand is a taut, dangerous whip, and she smashes with an all-body snap that hurtles the shuttlecock, the fastest projectile in racket sports, at what must be pretty close to its top speed of around 320 kmph. The kinetic beauty and excitement on display when a top athlete trains is difficult to explain: the speeds at which the shuttle flies, the quickness with which Nehwal reacts, moves, strikes, recovers, or the way her body stretches out to painful angles effortlessly to reach for a shot. But what is most striking is the sheer physicality of the sport, which is right up there in intensity with the way boxers, wrestlers or footballers train. The court sessions will end at 1, and after a 2-hour break for lunch and sleep, Nehwal will get into the gym for hard-core conditioning work and weight training for 2 hours.
Right now, she has upped her intensity of practice to frenetic levels to build the base for the final lap of training for the Olympics, and the Olympics itself. A month before the Olympics, Gopi Chand will introduce a variety of new coaching methods designed to give her that final push, and surprise opponents who have been deconstructing and video-analysing her previous games. Along with the final phase of the training, Gopi Chand says, Nehwal will also need to go into a hermit-like stage. “Shut off the iPhone, the Internet, the people who say ‘all our prayers are with you, you are our only hope’ or newspaper reports saying ‘PM wants to see a medal from Saina’—shut it all out.”
The final question, the one that nags Nehwal like a chronic disease: Can she break the Chinese? The Chinese have had a stranglehold on world badminton, especially in the women’s game, where they have won 12 of the last 14 World Championships in women’s singles, and the last three women’s singles gold at the Olympics. Nehwal is not up against just one player, she is up against a sea of them—she’s taking on the most powerful champion-producing system in the world. In the world rankings, the four players ahead of Nehwal, and the player immediately behind her, are all Chinese. “I know I can beat them one by one,” Nehwal says.
In the barrage of criticism she faced in 2011, one fact was lost —she met Wang Yihan, the Chinese world No. 1 and the current world champion, twice in Super Series finals. Both times, Nehwal had pushed Yihan to three games, coming within an inch of winning.
“With every loss, I learnt something,” Nehwal says. “Every match, I realized that I had the confidence and the skill to beat her, so it’s just a matter of time.”
Is the time now? “Yes,” Nehwal says, “in my head, I’ve already won the Olympic medal.”
What will you do when you actually win a medal?
“I will only know that when I have the medal in my hand,” she says, haltingly. “Maybe it will take me months, maybe years to sink in. You asked me that and I feel like crying, I have goosebumps everywhere…I don’t know what I will do if I win it.”
05-31-2012, 10:36 PM #774
Talk about piling the pressure on herself. All we can do is wish her the best.
05-31-2012, 11:00 PM #775
Saina is really confident.
But the result is not only depends on one's confidence.
06-01-2012, 12:31 AM #776
Oh darn, you're already on all of them! You're also the one using offensive language all over Youtube and the internet.
You're the one who wanted to "have Taufik shot because he has the arrogance to suggest while in China", to do to the China team what they were doing to the rest of the world.
You're the one who called LYB a c--t and guess what, I'm the one who complained to the mods about both posts and helped get them deleted to maintain some sanctity on this forum.
On reflection, they should have let the posts remain, for all Indonesians as well as Chinese and others read for themselves and judge you for what you are: a fanatic wing-nut who can't get any. A trouble-maker and rabble-rouser. A disgrace to China. A disgrace to the UK. A disgrace to humanity.
You should be reported to the police in UK to add to their watch-list of fanatic troublemakers. Especially now that the OG is around the corner.
06-01-2012, 01:02 AM #777
Yes, Miqilin7, you mentioned in another thread about ending your life should a certain circumstance come to pass - that event can't happen soon enough, as far as I'm concerned.
Your obsessiveness over the Chinese female players is not just over the top, it's downright creepy. The way you've been yammering on about them not just here but elsewhere is not only embarassing to yourself, it's an embarassment to the Chinese players and their sane supporters.
Oh, and those 'be all and end all' proclamations you're so fond of making don't prove how knowledgable you are, they only serve to reveal your ignorance.
Mods, please do us all a favour and put this one out of its misery!
06-01-2012, 01:32 AM #778
06-01-2012, 02:57 AM #779
06-01-2012, 03:53 AM #780
06-01-2012, 04:20 AM #781
At the moment the highest ranked among them is a girl from Poland at 79.
So i wouldn't hold up too much hope for her or indeed any seeds for any surprise .
Exactly what the IOC wanted
06-01-2012, 04:39 AM #782
I think she is trying to motivate herself with all this positive talk. There are a lot of gurus who advocate this type of mental imaging and thought process.
This should be kept to herself or maybe she is trying to put some fear into her opponents.
Anyway I think she better come up with a strategy to counter Wang Yihan and LY. Both of them have the same style of play and have critical height and reach advantage.
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