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Updated: July 7, 2010 19:11 IST

Going places

Praveen Iyer
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Aiming high: Heading for the top slot. Photo: S.S. Kumar
The Hindu
Aiming high: Heading for the top slot. Photo: S.S. Kumar

Saina Nehwal has proved to everyone that dedication, discipline and passion for the game can take you to the top!

The racquet sport of the 17th century has suddenly reached its pinnacle here after an ace Indian shuttler made India proud becoming the first Indian to win a super series tournament. I'm talking about the 20-year-old badminton player, Saina Nehwal. After the three super series wins in a row, she looked confident and in high spirits. She took a big leap forward realising her dream to become the world's number one player, after landing World No. 3 recently. She also enjoys the privilege of being the first ever Indian woman to reach the semi-finals of the prestigious All England super series championships.

Family support

If Saina battles it out on the badminton court against the world's best players, it has been no less a battle for her father to let her do the same. It is a very rare occasion wherein a middle class family would spend more than half of their monthly income to train an 8-year- old kid in badminton without knowing if it would pay off. But the BPCL support late in 2004 had helped her to come out of the financial crunch and ultimately, she was spotted by the Mittal Sports Trust in December 2005. Everything is favouring this 20-year-old Hyderabadi girl and success too seems to have been smitten by her!

Saina's rise follows back-to-back title triumphs at the India Open Grand Prix and the Singapore Open Super Series respectively. It took a complete changeover right from her position to her footwork once she joined the GopiChand academy of Badminton. Saina is now the face of badminton today, having taken over from where her mentor GopiChand had left it. She is clearly raising the bar and going places! Her strategy of slicing the shuttlecock to perfection helped her earn valuable points deceiving her opponents at crucial junctures. The slicing of the shuttlecock is very difficult to receive as it follows a curved path rolling in the air and the deceleration imparted due to the slicing causes the sliced strokes to slow down suddenly and hence put the opponents on the back foot. Her spinning net shot or the tumbling net shot are some of the attacking weapons to her already strong arsenal.

Many firsts

This lady is making it big in the International arena and is striving hard to reach the number one spot. So far India's best has been World's best. Its true in Chess, it's true in Cricket and sooner will she prove her mettle and stamp India's name on this racquet game. And she has got more good news coming her way; the most recent news being that Saina Nehwal has been offered a police officer's job by the Haryana Government. So far outstanding sportspersons at the national and international levels have been appointed in this category and that too directly to the level of Deputy Superintendent of Police. So DSP Saina Nehwal in the making ?

Praveen Iyer, Final Year, Information Technology, Rajalakshmi Engineering College.

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