Dr. Harvir Singh was so disappointed by his daughter’s loss in the Olympic semifinal on Friday that he skipped dinner and spent a sleepless night.
Things looked to be going wrong on Saturday, too, when Saina Nehwal took on Wang Xin in the bronze medal play-off. However, despondency soon paved way for celebration as the Xin conceded the match due to a knee injury while leading 21-18, 1-0.
Initially, Dr. Harvir did not watch the live telecast as he was busy interacting with the media at his workplace, the Acharya N.G. Ranga AP Agricultural University in Rajendranagar, near here.
“Are kya khel rahi hai (what is she playing)?” was the father’s reaction when an erratic Saina looked out of sorts. But, as the game progressed and Saina fought back to reduce the lead and the Chinese opponent started to struggle, he became optimistic.
“Has she given up? Oh, thank god. I feel sorry for the Chinese girl. I believe that it is divine intervention that has helped Saina win the bronze,” said a visibly relieved Dr. Harvir.
He turned nostalgic, recalling the year when Saina won the State under-10 championship at Tirupati in 1999.
“The day she won that title I thought it was God’s blessings. I again feel that some divine force is guiding her. Saina was desperately looking for this medal,” he said.
Dr. Harvir revealed that when Saina spoke to him after the semifinal loss, she was quite disappointed.
“She was desperate to win the medal. She told me that she wanted to stand in the middle of the podium (gold). It is good that she has now bagged the bronze,” he said.
“This is a great day for Saina and also for Indian badminton,” said Dr. Harvir, even as he was flooded with congratulatory messages.