In 2008, Nehwal received the Chinese language Taipei open at age 18, defeating the then reigning world champion Zhu lin. By June 2010 she was ranked world quantity 3 and climbed to 2nd spot by July 2010. In 2014 she received the China open a by April 2015 Nehwal was on the prime of the summit.
An elated nation bestowed on her the Arjuna Award, Khel Ratna, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in fast succession. A shuttler, who remained in prime ten rank for nearly 11 years, turned advertisers delight as she was roped in for 17 well-paying endorsements, had two books written about her exploits, and had a biopic made on her life. She was possibly, additionally the richest badminton participant in historical past when she was at her peak. A improbable life any which approach you look.
A philanthropist of kinds, Nehwal’s is 18th on checklist of most charitable athletes on the planet. She would have received extra titles and medals however accidents hampered her progress. She missed the 2014 CWG video games because of foot damage. She missed a lot of the 2020 and 2021 season both to cancellation of tournaments because of Covid or as a result of she was injured. Her greatest drawback has been Planter Fasciitis, a medical drawback that impacts the legs, particularly the heels of the foot. She is now 31; clearly she will’t play like a youngster. The wear and tear and tear was sure to occur, to take a toll on her physique.
She went for Uber cup and different tournaments in Europe final 12 months and needed to concede matches because of groin and foot accidents. She couldn’t play the tournaments in Asia additionally when the worldwide badminton caravan moved there for six occasions together with the world championship. Phrase has it that she is solely not pondering of retiring any time quickly, and like her idol Roger Federer she desires to play until the 2024 Paris video games. That may be a good two years away.
“Age is only a quantity. Saina is aware of the best way to win. It’s how she feels that issues. She has had a most extraordinary profession. She has been a prime ten participant for nearly 11 years. Very very constant. An amazing champion. She is aware of her physique, the way it behaves, when to coach when to relaxation. If she desires to play in Paris, then we should always welcome her resolution. Her health is her drawback and he or she is aware of the best way to stay match and proceed taking part in tournaments,” says former nine-time nationwide champion Popat.
Popat feels one of many nice high quality that Nehwal has is her means to study quick. She adapts very quick to the altering rhythm of the match: learns from her errors and doesn’t repeat them. “I performed her within the finals of the 2006 nationwide championship and defeated her to win my 9 title. Similar 12 months she received the Philippines open and by no means regarded again. She was not a pure internet participant however inside couple of years she was among the finest internet participant on the planet. In conclusion, I’ll say that relating to her future let her resolve. Saina will make the right resolution.”
Nonetheless, it’s apparent that this nice champion is at a crossroad. Final two years have been a nightmare. Beset with accidents and the BWF schedule repeatedly hit by Covid she had not been in a position to play as she likes. She has been dropping in first or second rounds which by no means occurred earlier than. Until 2018 she had been in a position to defeat likes of PV Sindhu. Within the Commonwealth video games and Indian Nationwide championships, Nehwal had defeated Sindhu.
And the nightmare continued for her in 2022 additionally. Within the first spherical on the India open in Delhi she managed a 22-20 first sport win over barely identified opponent Tereza Svabikova (retired harm within the second sport).
However then got here a shocker when the as soon as mighty Nehwal, misplaced tamely to Malvika Bansod 17-21, 9-21 within the second spherical. Bansod is a younger and upcoming Indian participant. What’s one to make of this scoreline? The place does she go from right here?
Nehwal clearly has to introspect to see the place she is heading.
Clearly her physique just isn’t responding to instructions the mind is giving. One can struggle something however not the ravages of father time. She was an actual ziddi participant, ready to chase the hen to hell and again. However right now the physique, which used to maneuver so effortlessly, gliding across the courtroom as if on ball bearings, is gradual and sluggish. Her followers, together with this author, want to see her at her finest all the time, the frown in her face as she contemplates what the opponent will do subsequent, her badminton pc working time beyond regulation, as slowly, however certainly her vicelike grip on the proceedings introduced within the outcomes she needed.
Effectively it’s her resolution what she desires to do relating to her profession. However a real legend is one who retires on the proper time so that folks ask, why you retired, fairly than asking you when will you retire?
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