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Thread: Saina Nehwal
11-01-2010, 09:49 PM #409
Saina Nehwal's stature is growing in sporting horizon
Ready to serve
- Saina Nehwal
- Image Credit: Xpress /Abdel-Krim Kallouche
As one drives into the city of Hyderabad in south India from the airport, you will be greeted with hoardings almost at regular intervals featuring a familiar face: Saina Nehwal. Head tilted up, shuttle in the air, the women's world No 3 badminton player is getting ready to serve.
It's an advertising campaign for one of that city's biggest media houses — who have chosen Saina as their brand ambassador over any illustrious member of their IPL franchise Deccan Chargers.
To earn one's place as the most saleable sporting icon in a city which boasts of the likes of a V.V.S. Laxman or Sania Mirza is no mean task — and it gives one a pointer to the growing stature of this 20-year-old in the Indian sporting horizon.
Little wonder then that there would be others trying to cash in on the ‘Brand Saina.'
The hottest piece of news in the country's sports endorsement sector over the past week had been her touching the Rs10 million mark for a sponsorship deal when telecom giants Airtel signed her up for that amount. And guess who all she joins in the marquee line-up of Airtel brand ambassadors — Shah Rukh Khan and Sachin Tendulkar.
The girl next door
However, broach the subject with Saina and one realises that despite the world changing around her over the last two years rapidly, she remains very much the girl next door.
"I want to thank Airtel for recognising a badminton player and I am happy to accept the offer. However, it's nothing compared to the cricketers as that is a more popular game in our country," she told Gulf News from Hyderabad.
It's been more than two years now since she became the first Indian to make the quarterfinals of the Olympics in Beijing — and how life has changed around her. For the average Indian sports fan fed on an overdose of cricket and its overpaid, nose-in-the-air stars, Saina is like a breath of fresh air.
Her recent exploits on court has everyone — from the Bollywood biggies to the man on the street — wishing her luck whenever she embarks on a new tournament in recent times.
There's of course a small price to pay for all this — apart from getting mobbed at public places, there is this frighteningly high level of expectations from a country of a billion people whenever she steps on to the court now.
"Yes, it is wonderful to have achieved so many things in the last two years. People now recognise me at all places and show a lot of love and affection. However, I have little time to go for outings," she confides.
Saina is, of course, well aware of the fact that her Commonwealth Games gold — coming under an intense pressure situation — is only going to fuel the expectations of an encore at the Asian Games.
As the number two seed, the battle will be much tougher for her this time with the Chinese girls coming back and the event taking place at their backyard in Guang Zhou.
"I have gone back to my daily schedule under Gopi [Pulella Gopichand] sir: daily six to seven hours in two sessions. Yes, I know the Chinese will be tough at home but I have a good record against them in recent times and will do my best for a podium finish," she said.
The current year had been like a dream for her so far. Not only has it seen her perched permanently among the top three in the world rankings, official recognition have come in thick and fast with the Rajiv Khel Ratna and the NDTV Sportsperson for the Year while the on-court form had been tremendous. The only place where she hadn't been able to give of her best was the World Championships, and Saina wants to set the record straight there at the next opportunity.
"This year had been good to me for I had been getting the results for all the hard work I had put in. There is still a lot more to do," comes the matter-of-fact observation.
As you wish to sign off with best wishes for ‘Mission Guang Zhou,' Saina had a message for the Indian expat population in the Middle East.
"Please convey my Diwali greetings to all the Indians living in that part of the world."
- Date of birth: March 17, 1990 Place of birth: Hisar, Haryana
- Height: 1.65m (5 ft 5 in) Weight: 60kg (130 lb)
- Country: India Handedness: Right
- Coach: Pullela Gopichand
- Women's singles
- Current Ranking 3 (October 14, 2010)
Walking the ramp
The fans of Saina Nehwal were in for a pleasant surprise recently when she walked the ramp recently during one of the high profile fashion weeks in India, looking quite resplendent in pink bridal wear. Asked if she would do it again, the badminton ace quickly put her priorities in place.
"That was just for fun. I am not a regular visitor to the ramp. My aim, for now, is to do well on the badminton court only," she quipped.
Do you think a rise in sponsorship earnings will make her lose focus? Can she repeat her Commonwealth Games performance in the Asian Galmes?
11-02-2010, 03:11 AM #410
With regards to the 2010 AG, Saina should take each match as it comes and not pressurize herself with the seedings as she did at the recent XIX CWG where she was almost upset by WMC of Malaysia.
She deserves all the accolades and sponsorships and she is indeed a breath of fresh air for India.
11-02-2010, 04:56 AM #411
India too can perform well in Badminton
IMHO, for us Badminton enthusiasts, what Saina Nehwal has achieved for India is great.
Saina Nehwal has woken up India; that India too can perform well in Badminton.
Like many other Asian countries, Badminton has been promoted as one of their most suitable and favourite sports for their population.
11-02-2010, 10:32 AM #412
Too often, the Indian sportspersons are content with No. 1 status within the country, and lack that really sharp competitive edge that can define success on the international stage. Although many will argue that Saina lacks certain skills that are more to be fond in other women players, she more than makes up with her raw courage, stamina, and iron will; in short, the never-say-die competitive spirit.
That is what really sets her apart from most of her Indian badminton-playing peers. Most of the Indian men's team could take a lesson from her in this respect.
The other great achievement is the triumph of her gender in a country where gender equality is still not "there."
11-25-2010, 03:39 AM #413
saina nehwal.....still yoyo performance..
11-25-2010, 04:27 AM #414
Saina Nehwal has remained (and still is) in the top 5 spots for quite a long time now
Last edited by chris-ccc; 11-25-2010 at 04:30 AM.
11-25-2010, 06:13 PM #415
Playing and losing in China is not a true measure of a player's ranking, seeding and capability where line calls may be 'dubious' even where you have neutral umpires who cannot over-rule calls which they cannot see clearly.
The other thing about playing in China is that the Chinese players tend to take a long time to 'settle' in between points and often indicate they are not ready even when a serve has been made and the opponent has to re-serve.
The true measure would be for competition to take place in a neutral country, say, Japan, where Saina Nehwal plays, say, WYH or WSX.
So, please don't rush to judgment by saying that SN is yoyo.
11-25-2010, 06:59 PM #416
Saina has IMO a few handicaps to begin with.
1. Her height. At only 165 cm, her reach is significantly less than most of the top 25 players on the circuit. Which means she needs to run harder, stretch more, dive more, and as if that were not enough, recover quickly enough to be ready for the next shot.
2. Limited skill set. No offense meant here. But she has time and again displayed a limited skill set on court. Her net play especially, is a very weak area of her game IMO.
3. Probable diet issues. The typical Indian diet can be quite taxing on the system, and encourages a certain heaviness and bulkiness. Not the best thing for a game like badminton, where agility is very important. There is also a good case to be made for more high-altitude training.
But she balances this with her attitude (never-say-die,) and truly incredible stamina. She is focussed, intelligent, and has a very wise and mature head on her young shoulders. And she hates losing!
If she really wants to get to the podium at the prestigious events, I think she and the BAI need to consider a change of coach, support team, and rotation of practise venues, with the objective of taking her "to the next level." The reason she has done so well in South-East Asia is that the climatic and other conditions are similar to Hyderabad, her base, in many ways. But take her out of that "comfort zone" and into colder arenas (AE, WC2010 etc) and she has come up short...
No she is no yo-yo. But the BAI need to step back and re-assess the way they have handled her so far, and where they want to go from here. Otherwise, I suspect they will be doing her, and India a disservice. The problem is, it's very easy for them to get carried away with the (limited) successes they have had in the past 2 years or so with her. I would say, to a lesser extent she has got to where she is not because of, but in spite of, BAI.
My 2 cents.
11-25-2010, 07:24 PM #417
11-25-2010, 10:40 PM #418
11-25-2010, 10:51 PM #419
Saina is definitely not a yoyo. But perhaps shown lack of skills... and big match mentality. WS is harder than MS, don't think she can even end up with an AE. Her big match mentality is like LCW, can lose to other players whom he/she would have always beaten, but so far LCW outclasses her in skills. But of course I cannot compare WS and MS.
11-27-2010, 10:11 AM #420
Saina Nehwal is World No.2 again
Believe it or not... Saina Nehwal has returned as WS World No.2 again, based on this week's world rankings.
Saina is behind China's Xin Wang with 63211.26 points. Xin has 66152.40 points.
The rise was courtesy of Wang Yihan's fall. Wang, who held onto the number two spot for eight weeks, slipped to the third spot with 62488.91 points.
Tine Baun of Denmark is placed fourth and Chinese Shixian Wang fifth.
Last edited by chris-ccc; 11-27-2010 at 10:15 AM.
12-05-2010, 08:52 AM #421
Saina Nehwal remains as WS World No.2
Processed on 02-Dec-2010, Saina Nehwal remains as WS World No.2. Tine Baun of Denmark is now placed as World No.1.
12-12-2010, 03:51 AM #422
congrats for saina
winning in the final after beaten wang shi xian
she should improve her backhand push.
12-12-2010, 04:41 AM #423
CWG Women Single Champion has beaten Asian Games Women Champion.............well done, Saina Nehwal.
12-12-2010, 05:06 AM #424
Congratulations, Saina Nehwal! I hope she can take this kind of positive gameplay into big tournaments like the AE, WC and Asian Games... otherwise she'll be hard-pressed to ever win a major... see the difference between the WC and this one?
12-12-2010, 08:12 AM #425
Congratulations to Saina for winning the HKO women singles ^^
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