Rio Olympics: Saina Nehwal; India’s hope for gold

By: | Updated: July 29, 2016 11:25 AM

Often confused as 'Sania' Mirza during her initial days of fame, Badminton's former World no.1 Saina Nehwal will walk into Rio as a leading contender for the gold.

Saina Nehwal, gold, olympics medal, olympics, badminton, Nehwal won her first medal, a bronze in London 2012 and went on to become world number one last year. (Reuters)

Often confused as ‘Sania’ Mirza during her initial days of fame, Badminton’s former World no.1 Saina Nehwal will walk into Rio as a leading contender for the gold. The Indian camp’s mood might have been dampened by doping charges on Narsingh Yadav and Inderjit Singh, but seeing Nehwal in form hopes have risen high. The badminton Association of India recently posted a video of Nehwal practicing by competing with four shuttlers on the other side of the net. Coming fresh from her victory in the Australian Open, Nehwal seemed to be in incredible form as she doesn’t miss a single shot in the forty second video.

Nehwal won her first medal, a bronze in London 2012 and went on to become world number one last year. It was first time that a non-Chinese shuttler reached the top that mountain since Dane Tine Baun in late 2010.

She doesn’t feel that rise to the top hasn’t been a fairytale run as the media has potrayed. She went on to dedicate it to her coaches and the numerous hours of sheer hardwork. Nehwal had failed to reach a World Superseries final since last November in China and was recovering an Achilles injury she sustained at the end of last year. Though injuries have have been crippled her golden run in the last year, she believes she is fit and could take on anyone on any given day.Speaking to the media after coming back after winning her second Australian Open singles title last month, the shuttler felt confident and said that the win down-under was definitely going to help her on the road to Rio.

In women’s singles, Saina Nehwal, who has been seeded 5th has been placed in Group G and seeded fifth for the competition. She will have Maria Ulitina and Lohaynny Vicente as her competition in the group. Her competition in the first group seems to be fairly easy and she is expected to sail into the eliminators.

Nehwal, who will be 30 by the time the 2020 Olympics come around in Tokyo, believes Rio is her best chance of gold.

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