Saina Nehwal was calm, confident and eloquent.
She tried to be honest in portraying her mind at the moment of triumph, after fate had thrust an Olympic medal on her, without waiting for the match to finish.
Fortune favours the brave and Saina had single-handedly put the fear in the minds of the Chinese. She had worked very hard for the Olympic medal, and her name has been written on one for all her efforts.
“I still can’t believe it that I have won an Olympic medal. I couldn’t believe that an Indian couldn’t win an Olympic medal in badminton. We had worked very hard for it, and it feels great. I am happy to get a bronze medal in the Olympics,” gushed Saina when posed the introductory question during the press conference.
Dream goes sour
Saina admitted that she was quite disappointed after losing the semifinals, which she said was owing to a wrong strategy, and revealed that she had dreamt of playing in the Olympic final.
“I was still thinking about yesterday’s match. It was still playing in my mind. When the opponent fell today, I thought that she was trying to get a break. I was confident that I was coming back into the match,” said Saina.
“I was feeling it that she was tired. She was coming for water break. I thought that it was another ploy. It was really sad that she got injured,” said Saina.
The 22-year-old Indian said that she had never won a match like that in all her life, ever since she started playing the game as a nine-year-old, and felt that she was perhaps destined to win an Olympic medal that way.
“I was in too much of a hurry. She was tired. Yesterday also we had the same strategy to have long rallies, but it didn’t work,” said Saina.
“I knew that I would get a medal, but not this way. I wanted to win in a good way. Still can’t believe that I did it for Indian badminton in the Olympics,” said Saina.
“I was lucky today. A medal was written for me. I was confident that I will pull it out. In the second game, she came with a different strategy, to finish points quickly, and she fell,” said Saina, even as she disclosed that she had a good night’s sleep on Friday, after losing to a tough opponent.
‘’I couldn’t sleep before the semifinal. My ambition to play the Olympic final didn’t happen. I was not worried about today’s match,” she stressed.
“Training next day will be my way of celebration,” Saina shot back when queried about the celebration of the medal.
“I am very very happy,” said Saina as she recalled her conversation with her dad on television after the match that she couldn’t get the gold for him, but got the bronze at least.
“The Olympic medal, and the Indian flag will go up. It is great. I will have all the chocolates and will not worry about adding weight for some time.” Saina said that she was confident that a lot of girls would take up the game, as the Indian boys were already at it, and hoped that the Olympic medal would trigger a revolution among the girls in Indian badminton.
“We should have more girls like the Koreans and the Chinese. Then you can have better results,” she said.
Scared of me
She admitted that it would still be Saina versus China for some more time, and remarked that she was more confident of playing them after getting about half a dozen victories over them this season.
“They are scared of me. Of course, I need to be fit and have to work more on my rallies and be ready for long matches,” she admitted.