Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal was on Wednesday nominated for the 2012 ‘Female Player of the Year’ award of the Badminton World Federation following an impressive performance in the season which had seen her win a bronze medal in the London Olympics.
World No. 2 Saina is the only non-Chinese among the five contenders for the top annual award among women shuttlers instituted by the BWF.
The four Chinese are world No. 1 Li Xuerui of China who won eight titles in 2012, including the London Olympic gold medal, Olympic silver medallist Wang Yihan and Olympic women’s doubles gold-winning pair Tian Qing & Zhao Yunlei (China). Should a pair win the award, they will share it, the BWF said in a statement.
Saina won four major titles in 2012 — two Super Series and two Grand Prix Gold events, besides bagging London Olympics women’s singles bronze.
She won the Indonesian Open and Denmark Open Super Series titles besides the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold and Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold events.
Among those nominated for the ‘Male Player of the Year’ for 2012 are two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan of China and his rival Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei — the current world No. 1 one and two-time Olympic silver medallist.
Others in that category are Olympic bronze medallist and winner of BWF World Super Series finals, Chen Long (China); men’s doubles Olympic gold medallists Cai Yun & Fu Haifeng (China) and Lee Yong Dae and now-retired Jung Jae Sung (Korea).
The announcement of the winners — to be chosen by the BWF Council — and the presentation of prizes will take place at a gala dinner here on May 18, following the BWF Annual General Meeting.