Saina Nehwal expressed her disappointment at her decision to participate in the Rio Olympics as it resulted in the Hyderabadi shuttler suffering a career-threatening knee injury. Saina also expressed happiness on reaching the semis of the BWF World Championship
When the Indian contingent left for Rio last year, Saina Nehwal was carrying the medal tally hopes of the Indian badminton fans, especially after her brilliant run in the 2012 London Olympics. However, the script did not play out as expected and the Hyderabadi shuttler was forced to make an exit as early as the second round after suffering a loss at the hands of unseeded Ukrainian Marija Ulitina.
The defeat was not due to a sudden drop in form but the aggravation of a major knee injury that eventually almost ended her career.
"Only I know what I went through. I shouldn't have gone to Rio, I didn't know I had a major injury. The belief of my parents and coach helped me get back. I still have tendonitis in the (right) knee," Saina told PTI after her quarterfinal win at the World Badminton Championship.
However, the injury did not slow down Saina in her tracks and she made a return to the court, however, the injury had taken a lot out of her and she was seen struggling in the Thailand Grand Prix earlier this year. The 27-year old overcame the shortcomings in her game and has finally found the rhythm that she was once known for.
On Friday, she defeated World No. 31, Kristy Gilmour of Scotland 21-19 18-21 21-15 to book a semi finals berth in the BWF World Championships. The Hyderabadi shuttler had to toil hard for her win and came out on top by winning rallies consistently.
"I was expecting a tough fight, but I was surprised she was playing so quick," said Saina.
"There were a lot of difficult rallies. She was
Saina had a hundred percent win record against Gilmour but hadn't faced her in three years. Meanwhile, the Scot had won two silver medals at the European Championship.
Saina will face seventh seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the semi finals. Okuhara promises to be a tough opponent after she eliminated two-time defending champion and World No. 2 Carolina Marin 21-18 14-21 21-15 in the quarterfinals.
"I wasn't sure of a medal, I had a difficult draw. Reaching the semi-finals is a great feeling, but tomorrow will be a tough match," Saina concluded.