Saina Nehwal is the pride of India. She has not only been the No. 1 Indian but also World’s No.1 Badminton player. Saina belongs to the family where her mother herself was an accomplished Badminton Player and had played state level Badminton. Saina Nehwal held Badminton from a very early age and that is why she has many more records as compared to her age. She has also represented India many times on International Platforms and it is time for us to have some knowledge about her life journey and achievements.

 

Early Life

Saina Nehwal was born on 17th March 1990, in Dhindar, Hisar district, Haryana. She is the daughter of Harvir Singh Nehwal and Usha Rani Nehwal. When her father was promoted and transferred from Haryana to Hyderabad, she took up badminton at the age of eight to express herself as she did not know the local language well enough to socialise with other kids.
Her mother, Usha Rani, was a state level badminton player in Haryana. Nehwal took up badminton to full fill her mother’s dream of becoming a national level badminton player. Her father, who was among the top players in the university circuit, used his provident fund to invest in good badminton training for her.

 

Career Over View

Saina Nehwal is a former world no. 1, she has won over 24 international titles, which includes eleven Super series titles. Although she reached the world’s 2nd in the 2009, it was only in 2015 that she was able to attain the world no. 1 ranking, thereby becoming the only female player from India and overall the second Indian player – after Prakash Padukone – to achieve this feat. She has represented India three times in the Olympics, winning a bronze medal in her second appearance.
Nehwal has achieved several milestones in badminton for India. She is the only Indian to have won at least one medal in every BWF major individual event, namely the Olympics, the BWF World Championships, and the BWF World Junior Championships. She is the first Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal, the first Indian to have reached the final of the BWF World Championships, along with being the only Indian to have won the BWF World Junior Championships. Nehwal became the first Indian female and the youngest also has the distinction of being the first Indian to win a Super Series title. In the 2014 Uber Cup, she captained the Indian team and remained undefeated, helping India to win bronze medal. It was India’s first medal in any BWF major team event. Nehwal became the first Indian to win two singles gold medals (2010 and 2018) in Commonwealth Games.

Saina Nehwal has more wins in singles, where her win rate is 68.84%, which is massive by any other player. Though she played few doubles, compare to the win rate in singles here her count of wins is less in number, where she had only 27.27% winning rate.

In 2008 summer Olympics Nehwal managed to make up to quarter final, whereas in 2012 she won 3 bronzes and in 2016 she was managed at group stage.
Saina won gold medal in Commonwealth Games 2008,2010 &2018 and a silver in 2004 and bronze in 2006&2012. In 2016 she managed up to group stage.

She has won over 24 international titles, which includes eleven Super series titles and nine grand prix tittles.

 

Achievements and Awards

Olympic Bronze in 2012

The London Olympics in 2012 saw Saina Nehwal create more history. She became the first female badminton player to win a medal at the Olympics. She secured a well-deserved bronze medal after securing a place in the semi-finals by beating Dutch Yao Jie 21-15, 22-20 in straight games. Then the 22-year-old met the top seed from China, Wang Yihan. She gave the Chinese a good competition, but fatigue from previous matches showed in her performance. She bowed out after losing the tie by 13-21, 13-21. However, this remains one of the biggest achievements of her career.

 

National Awards

Saina Nehwal has attributed to popularising badminton and inspiring scores of Indian youngsters to take up the sport. She is particularly credited with helping the female athletes by being a figure of inspiration. Acknowledging her contributions, the Government of India bestowed several civilian awards. In 2016, she received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award of India. She also has been conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards in 2009. Padma Shri was also awarded to the shuttler in 2010.

 

BWF World Championships Silver in 2015

Saina created even more history when she became the first Indian female badminton player to win a silver and reach the finals at the BWF World Championships in 2015. The Hyderabad-born player reached the final in Jakarta and faced a stern test of Carolina Marin. The Spaniard secured a 21-16, 21-19 victory over the Indian and wrote another chapter in their immense rivalry. While Nehwal missed out on the gold, she set a benchmark for other Indian shuttlers to follow. P.V. Sindhu eventually won the gold medal in 2019.

 

Most Promising Player of the Year (2008) award by Badminton World Federation

Saina Nehwal is recognised as a young rising badminton super star, her records, winnings, and gratitude towards the sport won her most promising player for the year 2008 by BWF.

 

CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in Sports 2009

Saina Nehwal has won CNN-IBN Indian of the year (2009) in sports category. She is recognised for her work in badminton, by representing India she has won many medals for the country and achieved this award

 

Big Star Most Entertaining Sportsperson of the Year 2015

Nehwal has achieved several milestones in badminton for India. She is the only Indian to have won at least one medal. her dedication, passion and hard work brought Saina to achieve this feet.

 

Endorsements

She endorses Commune Builder, Edelweiss Group, Emami, Fortune Cooking Oil, Godrej No Marks, HerbalifeNutrition,HuaweiHonorsmartphone, IndianOverseasBank, Iodex, NECC, Sahara Group, Star Sports, Top Ramen Noodles, Vaseline and Yonex. Nehwal signed an endorsement deal worth Rs. 400 million with the popular sports management firm Rhiti Sports in 2012.[166] However, she severed this deal in 2013 and signed up with KWAN entertainment and marketing solutions for an undisclosed sum.[167] She has a dedicated sporting range with the multinational sports goods manufacturer Yonex, 4% of the profits of which goes to her.

 

Marriage

Saina Nehwal got married to Parupalli Kashyap in private ceremony on 14 December 2018 who is also badminton player, they are one of the most prominent sporting couples of India.

 

Politics

Nehwal joined the Bhartiya Janata Party in Delhi on 29 January 2020 in the presence of party’s national general secretary Arun Singh. Her sister Abu Chandran Shu Nehwal also joined the party. She was quoted as saying “Narendra Modi is working hard for the country, and has always inspired me.”

Saina Nehwal is an Indian treasure who resides in the hearts of every Indian. A 31-year-old girl has been making our nation proud by conquering all the milestones of the badminton world. It seems that breaking records and creating history is a daily routine for this five and a half feet Indian powerhouse.
Although Saina began her badminton career to full fill her mother’s lifelong dream, she never gets content of her accomplishments and persisted to rank as number 1 in the world by the Badminton World Federation. She also became the first and the only Indian woman to achieve this monumental accomplishment. Her cap is decorated with feathers from being the first Indian woman to win a super-series tournament to the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships and then a medal in Badminton at the Olympics. She is an inspiration for many women, she worth to be called as “badminton superstar”