Saina Nehwal, the women's singles top seed in the India Open Grand Prix gold badminton championships beginning at the Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday, said she is confident of her abilities and looking to put her best foot forward.
“I am prepared for the event. There is no doubt that I have to give my best. The second seed, Choo Wong Mew of Malaysia, will be the toughest of all,” she said.
Looking ahead, Saina said she is focussed on three major events — Commonwealth Games (New Delhi, October 2010), Asian Games (China, November) and the World championships (Paris, August). “After the Chennai event, I will compete in the Singapore and Indonesia Super Series and will take a break for one and a half months to train for the World championships,” she said.
Saina recalled her memories of Chennai when she played in 2005. “That year, I won the Krishna Khaitan memorial National tournament in under-16 and u-19 categories,” she said.
India's Arvind Bhat, World No.33 and seeded fourth, said he could indeed go on and win the men's singles title here. “If I play well, I can win the tournament. As a player, I have progressed really well over the last couple of years. I feel that I am a top 20 material,” he said.
Ajay Jayaram, eighth seed, is on a high after winning the Smiling Fish International Series in Thailand last month. “I am feeling fine and playing my best,” said Jayaram, who is World ranked 68.
One of India's associate coaches, Archana Deodhar, said India can win gold in all the events. “Apart from men's and women's singles, I think the mixed doubles pair of V. Diju and Jwala Gutta, seeded one, has the best chance to win the title. The pair is now ranked 11 in the world and was even ranked seventh once” said Archana, who was part of the bronze medal winning Indian women's team in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.