En route to her third Olympics at Rio, Saina Nehwal took great pride in the fact and said she will make every effort to bring back a medal for India. Putting aside the spate of injuries she has suffered, Saina believed that she has had a perfect build-up with the Australian Open victory in the end.
Speaking a week before the Olympics are set to begin at Rio, Saina was upbeat about the chances and said, “Every effort is being made to come back with a medal. I will not be found wanting in Rio and hope the results will be fruitful,” she said. “Vimal sir has been motivating me so much that I feel better prepared to show the results,” she added in an exclusive to the Hindu.
Saina was at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but it was the 2012 London Olympics where she clinched one of India's six medals. Saina's semifinal opponent withdrew from the match leading to an initially subdued celebration. On a third Olympic appearance, Saina said, “To represent India for a third straight time is definitely a matter of pride. I don’t think I have had to make major adjustments in my game except improving in some areas which every player has to do before a major event. I am looking at a better approach to drops, dribbling and half-smashes.”
The pressure to repeat or better her London medal is immense and the star knows how to handle the hopes. “It will be there and I hear about it in the media. But once you are on the court, you have to shut yourself away from all these issues and focus on the match,” insisted the World No. 5.
The journey, however, has been difficult for Saina. The star suffered injuries early in the Olympic year and had to struggle with them through the Premier Badminton League and other Superseries. After multiple semi-final exits where her lack of movement showed clearly, she won the Australian Open in the perfect build-up to Rio. Speaking about it, she said, “Any Olympics is a huge challenge and you see so many ups and downs between editions. By God’s grace, I believe that the build-up for me has been good in terms of training and the recent Australian Open title was just perfect before this Games,” to the Hindu.
The London-medalist also wished good luck to the entire Indian contingent for the Games and said, “I sincerely convey my best wishes not just to my fellow shuttlers but to the entire Indian Olympic contingent.”