Saina Nehwal's stature as a top badminton player rose further when she
won the Denmark Open Badminton tournament on October 21 2012, her
sixth premier title overall and second premier title of the year after
the Indonesian Open. She beat a hapless Juliane Schenk of Germany
21-17, 21-8 in 35 minutes to lift the coveted trophy.
Saina has been on a steady rise which was recently celebrated with an
Olympic Bronze medal. She could have grabbed an even better colour but
was defeated by China's Yihan Wang during the course of the London
Olympics. She returned against the world number 1 in the Denmark Open
badminton semi-final and avenged her defeat. This is the spirit which
defines this 22-year-old and her style of play!
Records and laurels have steadily come Saina's way since long. On June
17, she won the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold title in Jakarta. This
was her third Indonesia Open title.
Earlier in June, she also became the first Indian to win the Thailand
Open badminton title. She won the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold in March
Saina, however, was introduced to the sport by her parents, both of
whom were former champions in Haryana. The right-handed shuttler was
born in Dhindar (which is in Haryana's Hisar district) but her
father's work took Saina to Hyderabad where she spent her formative
She was spotted by PSS Nani Prasad Rao, badminton coach of the Sports
Authority of Andhra Pradesh, at the age of 8 and he convinced her
father to allow her to pursue a career in badminton. And Mr Harvir
Singh backed his daughter's dreams.
Saina first caught India's attention in 2006, when she became the
first Indian to win the Philippines Open despite going into the
tournament as the 84th seed. Many top-seeded players lay vanquished in
her wake as she announced her arrival on the international scene.
In 2008, she became the first Indian woman to make it to the
quarterfinal of the Olympics in the singles event. That was the 29th
edition of the Games in Beijing.
She also made it to the World Super Series semi-final in December 2008.
She made history in 2009 when she won the Indonesian Open, becoming
the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament. She repeated that
feat in 2010. She also won a gold medal in the woman's singles event
at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, which helped India finish
No. 2 in the medals tally.
She is being currently coached by Indonesian champion Atik Jauhari
while All England Champion Pullela Gopichand is her mentor. She was
previously coached by Dronacharya Award winner S M Arif.