Saina Nehwal trains at Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. From her initial years as a badminton player, she has always shown a lot of potential in herself. Being a National Junior champion, she has performed well in major tournaments, both in national and international ones. She has clearly made a mark of her own.
The Junior Czech Open, which took place in the year 2003, was the beginning of her career, as she went on to win the tournament. She came second in the 2004 Commonwealth Youth Games. Saina became the first player to win the Asian Satellite Badminton tournament twice, once in 2005 and then again in 2006.
In 2006, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian woman to win a super-series tournament, the Philippines Open. In 2008, she became the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships. She also won the 2008 Chinese Taipei Open Grand Prix Gold, the Indian National Badminton Championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games in the same year. She was declared as the most promising player in 2008.
In 2009, she became the first Indian to win the most prominent badminton series of the world - the Indonesia Open. She also reached the quarterfinals of world championship. Saina Nehwal was honoured with the Arjuna award and her coach Gopichand was also honoured with the Dronacharya award in August 2009.
In January 2010, Saina Nehwal was awarded with the Padma Shri award. She also won the India Open Grand Prix Gold, the Singapore Open Super Series, the Indonesia Open Super Series and the Hong Kong Super Series in the same year. On 29 August 2010, Saina was awarded the highest national sporting award - the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. As one of the eight brand ambassadors of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Saina won a gold medal creating an epic moment in the history of Indian badminton.
In 2011, she won the Switzerland Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold and came second in the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold, the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier and the BWF Super Series Masters Finals. In 2012, Saina won the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold, the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold and reclaimed the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier, making it her third Indonesian open title-win.
In the 2012 London Olympics, Saina Nehwal won a bronze medal and became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in badminton. For her huge achievement the state governments of Haryana, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh offered her huge cash prizes and the Sports Minister promised Saina a job equivalent to the rank of an IAS officer. Her success at the Olympics has surely opened new doors for sports to grow in India.
Awards and Accolades :
- 2009: Arjuna Award
- 2009-2010: Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
- 2010: Padma Shri
- 1 crore rupees cash award from the Haryana Government
- 50 lakh rupees cash award from the Rajasthan Government
- 50 lakh rupees cash award from the Andhra Pradesh Government
- 10 lakh rupees cash award from the Badminton Association of India
- An honorary doctorate degree by Mangalayatan University
Last Updated on : March 31, 2015