Saina Nehwal: The New World No. 1
On Saturday, March 28, Saina Nehwal brought India’s name to the top of World Badminton after a hiatus of 35 years. Prakash Padukone was crowned as World No. 1 as he beat Indonesia’s Liem Swie King to win the All England title. Now, 35 years later, due to her continuous and extraordinary efforts and iron will, Saina Nehwal became the World No. 1 as Carolina Marin lost her India Open semifinal on Saturday.
Saina has been bearing the India flag high with her career in the sport of badminton, being the single dominant force against badminton’s superpower China. Her immaculate record against her Chinese counterparts had led her to be regarded as the immovable object to the unstoppable force of China’s badminton prowess. With many titles under her name, the badminton player from Hyderabad has upped her standards yet again with her latest achievement.
“I can’t believe it, I still can’t believe it,” was all the new World No. 1 could manage to stammer moments after beating Yui Hashimoto 21-15, 21-11. Saina says it was never very important for her to be the world number 1, but says it obviously feels great to be there at the top and have her name and join the elite group of players to have reigned at the zenith of World Badminton.
Saina thanked her coach Vimal Kumar, who in turn had commended her on her diligence and work ethic. Saina had risen to the stage of World Badminton in 2006 when an injury to the then no. 1 Indian women’s badminton player had led her to showcase her skills. She won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games of Melbourne, 2006, and her career graph has been a single upward line ever since.