Saina Nehwal praised compatriot P. Kashyap, who in London became the first Indian male badminton player to reach the quarterfinals in Olympic history.

“Kashyap played really well, he has improved a lot. In my first Olympics (Beijing 2008), I also made the quarterfinals. It gave me a lot of confidence,” Saina said.

Saina was speaking at a felicitation organised by nutrition company Herbalife on Wednesday, where she and Mary Kom were awarded Rs. 5 lakh each. The 22-year-old termed India’s disappointment in the women’s doubles as “unfortunate,” where the combination of Ashwini Ponappa and G. Jwala exited in the round robin stage.

Asked if the manner of victory in her bronze medal match took any sheen away from her achievement, Saina replied: “People should be happy that I got a medal for India, rather than talking about what happened there. India had never got a medal in badminton, and I’m really happy to see youngsters inspired after this win. When I heard people talking like this, I didn’t feel good; I just couldn’t believe it.”

Mary Kom remained confident of competing at the 2016 Olympics, though she will be 33 then. “Of course, I can do it if I still have the will power,” she said. “It’s not about age; if the body allows it, then it’s all mental.”

Keywords: London Olympics

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