Infobox Badminton player
playername = Saina Nehwal
|Saina at 33rd National Games
caption = Saina at 33rd National Games
date_of_birth = birth date and age|1990|3|17
place_of_birth = Hisar,
event = Women's singles
highest_ranking = 11
date_of_highest_ranking = October 2, 2008 [ [http://www.internationalbadminton.org/histwomensingles.asp?rankno=571&cat=w BWF Historical World Ranking - WOMENS SINGLES] ]
current_ranking = 11
date_of_current_ranking = October 2, 2008 [ [http://www.internationalbadminton.org/ranking_ms.asp?Page=2&id=2&PageNo=GO BWF World Ranking - WOMENS SINGLES] ]
country = IND
handedness = Right
bwf_id = 52748
Saina Nehwal (b.
17 March, 1990)is a Indian woman badmintonplayer. Currently ranked number 12, Saina is the first Indian woman to reach the singles quarterfinals at the Olympics.
Previously coached by
S. M. Arif, a Dronacharya Awardwinner, Saina is the reigning the Indian national junior champion and is currently coached by Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichandat his academy in Hyderabad.
Her professional career is managed [ [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1995961.cms Globosport signs Saina Nehwal - TOI dated 15 Sep 2006] ] by GloboSport [ [http://www.globosportworld.com GloboSport] ] .
Saina was born in the city of Hisar in Haryana, India. Her foray into the world of badminton was influenced by her father Dr. Harvir Singh, a scientist at the Directorate of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad and her mother Usha Nehwal, both of whom were former badminton champions in Haryana [ [http://www.hindu.com/2005/07/20/stories/2005072007131800.htm The Hindu feature article dated 20 Jul 2005] ] .
In December 1998, Saina's father took her to meet Coach Nani Prasad at the Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad. Seeing potential in the girl, Prasad asked Singh to enroll Saina as a summer trainee.
Harvir Singh and Saina, who was 8 yrs old at the time, would wake up at 6 every morning and head to the stadium which was 20 km away. After two hours of practice, Singh would drop Saina to school on his way to work. Saina would often fall asleep on these journeys which prompted her mother to accompany them for the next three months.
Traveling nearly 50 km a day in order to accommodate the training schedule, Singh eventually decided to move closer to the stadium in 1999. This however didn’t end the traveling ordeal as Saina was asked to attend evening training sessions as well. With the extra training sessions, traveling expenditure rose phenomenally. Added to the cost of equipment including shuttles, rackets, shoes, gutting and expenses rose to over Rs. 12,000 per month.
In order to keep up with the rising cost of her training, Saina’s father withdrew money from his savings and provident fund. The tight-rope walk continued until 2002, when sports brand Yonex offered to sponsor Saina’s kit. As her status and rankings improved, the sponsorships increased. In 2004, BPCL signed the rising star onto their payroll, and in 2005 she was spotted by the Mittal Champions Trust. [ [http://mittalchampionstrust.com/ Mittal Champions Trust] ] .
Saina is the reigning Under-19 national champion. Also a regular in the senior circuit where she lost to former India number one
Aparna Popat, Saina created history by the winning the prestigious Asian Satellite Badminton tournament (India Chapter) twice, becoming the first player to do so.
In 2006, Saina appeared on the global scene when she became the first Indian woman to win a 4-star tournament, the Philippines Open [ [http://www.hindu.com/2006/05/29/stories/2006052908361800.htm Saina creates history, wins Philippines Open - The Hindu dated 29 May 2006] ] . Entering the tournament as the 86th seed, Saina went on to stun several top seeded players including number seed Huaiwen XU before defeating Julia Xian Pei Wong of
Malaysiafor the title. The same year also saw Saina as runner up at the 2006 BWF World Junior Championships, where she lost a hard fought match against top seed Chinese Wang Yihan.
She became the first Indian woman to reach the quarter finals at the
Olympic Gameswhen she upset world number five and fourth seed Wang Chenof Hong Kongin a three-game thriller. In the quarter-finals Saina lost a nail biting 3-gamer to world number 16 Maria Kristin Yulianti. In September 2008, she won the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open 2008 beating Li Ya Lydia Cheah of Malaysia 21-8 21-19 [ [http://www.rediff.com/sports/2008/sep/14bad.htm Saina wins Chinese Taipei Open] ] . Maria Yulianti had earlier lost her quarter-final match to Pia Bernadet,Saina's semi-final opponent, thus denying Saina a rematch.
Saina won the
Indian National Badminton Championshipsin January 2007 at Patna. She also bagged the Gold medal at the 33rd National Games held at Guwahatiin March 2007.
2008 Summer Olympics
India at the 2008 Summer Olympics
* [http://www.badmintoncentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=366846 Tribute to Indian Star, Saina Nehwal]
* [http://www.indiatwo.com/olympics/Saina-Nehwal Saina Nehwal's Pictures and Videos]
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