Bronze medallist Saina Nehwal fielded questions with the same flair she shows on the badminton court.Published Date: 2012-08-08 14:33:13 GMT
Firmness in the soft tone, gal-next-door smile, honesty and humility in words, skin coloured jacket, striped T-shirt with jeans, a couple of chains round the neck — as myriad images of a simple girl get thrown at you, you’re trapped in a maze of what it takes to become an Olympic medallist. Mind you, in a country where only one woman has done it before and none in badminton till date.
At her first press conference after the bronze medal-winning feat at the 2012 Olympics, 22-year-old Saina Nehwal said on Tuesday, “When I was nine, I dreamt of an Olympic medal.” Her coach, Pullela Gopichand, charmed journalists at Gopichand Academy by saying how he wanted to have this maiden meet only in Hyderabad.
If you carefully go through the conversation Saina had with the press, there are definite porous views. Phases where her coach said she wanted to quit playing (after a loss in Denmark) and a juncture in which she says she promised her father, Dr Harvir Singh Nehwal, to come back with a medal. Her mother, Usha, says she was sure as early as when Saina was 13 that she would be triumphant at the Olympics. In the same tone, she speaks of skills to learn from Yihan Wang (China), whom Saina lost to in the semi-finals on Friday. Shuttle views of a racquet sport!
Saina scrolled through promising names in Indian badminton, spoke about the importance of luck, pointed out how in the last four years she went easy on endorsements and how the next four years will be easier on her.
Recalling how Wang Xin pulled out in the bronze medal play-off due to injury, Saina said, “Even as people were congratulating me, I could not understand that the match was over. Mentally, I was ready to play.”
While the Piscean spoke about gold in the 2016 Rio Summer Games, her coach sounded more like a visionary — “By 2020, she would have competed in eight All England, about six World Championships, two Olympics, two Commonwealth and as many Asian Games.” The coach added that his protégé is still young.
The youngster, who will dot dozens of advertisements soon, showed no signs of jet lag. After the felicitation, Saina went out as buoyantly. Little does she know the national impact she has made already. And Saina or Sania (Mirza), the difference, for the proud Indian, is just in the interchanged IN that triggers India!