India’s champion shuttler Saina Nehwal moved one step closer to becoming the queen of world badminton when she became the World No. 2 in the latest Badminton World Federation rankings released on Thursday.

Incidentally, Saina joins former world junior chess champion Koneru Humpy as the only Indian woman player to be ranked world No. 2 in any discipline.

“Definitely, this is great news. But I would repeat again that these rankings are the direct outcome of the consistency at the highest level. And this also means bigger responsibility on me in the days to come,” remarked Saina about her latest achievement.

The 20-year-old Hyderabadi was ranked World No. 3 only recently after her grand winning streak. For someone who has taken a truly deserving break after completing an incredible hat-trick winning three international titles including two Super Series last month, Saina was just planning to be back in the rigorous training schedule from tomorrow.

“Yes, I am pleased with the timing of the latest ranking as it comes ahead of the World Championship in Paris next month,” she said.

“Things are happening so fast and so good. It is a nice feeling to be out there in top three of the world,” says Saina recovering from a bout of cold and cough. “I also take the opportunity to thank all those who have been with me especially my coaching staff headed by Gopi sir, and special thanks to physio Kiran,” she added.

For his part, chief national coach Pullela Gopi Chand also felt it was great news for Indian badminton itself. “Imagine the kind of impact it would have on the other Indian teammates when we leave for the World Championship. For here is Saina who has given a new dimension to the women’s badminton itself in particular and to Indian sport in general,” he pointed out. “I definitely look at this very good news as a huge fillip to the sport itself and should only spur the others to look far beyond the horizon,” he said to a query.

But Gopi also has an advice to Saina hoping that she stays focused on priorities like good training programme, adequate rest and taking proper diet. “These things look simple but help you a long way,” h he said.

“I think Saina has stepped into the big league with her great performances at the highest level of late. She has finally started translating her immense potential with the desired consistency in big events. This is important,” Gopi remarked.

Dronacharya S. M. Arif said this was great news for Indian badminton and that he would not be surprised if Saina becomes the World No. 1.

“She has the potential, tremendous will power and great commitment coupled with inclination to keep improving,” he pointed out.

Dr Harvir Singh, Saina’s father, said by the grace of God and with so many people helping her, his daughter could achieve all these things. “I only wish she continues to get this support in future also,” he added.

Keywords: Saina Nehwal

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