Home2016Saina Nehwal's gold dream in Rio

Saina Nehwal’s gold dream in Rio

It is a tough draw but world number five and fifth seed Saina Nehwal is still India's best bet for the country's first gold medal in the shuttle sport after winning the bronze at the 2012 London Olympics.

The former world number one, with a string of Superseries titles under her belt, however, admits that it is "tough, tough draw" but in the same breath added "I hope to do well" in Rio.

Nehwal is drawn in the same top half the draw together with world champion and top seed Carolina Marin of Spain, Olympic champion and world number three and third seed Li Xuerui of China and world number four and seventh seed Sung Ji-hyun of Korea.

In the preliminary rounds Nehwal is in Group G and has Ukraine's Maria Ulitina and Brazil's Lohaynny Vicente for company.

Nehwal is reportedly in "best of shape" for her challenge in Rio after winning this year's Australian Superseries title in Sydney. She is "more confident" after the Australian victory. It has not only boosted her game but she has upped her ante and taken her game to a higher level with variety of strokes.

In a recent interview India's former world number one and All-England champion Prakash Padukone said "Nehwal has everything" to win the gold in Rio.

"The key to winning in Rio is to play well during the competition. The Chinese players used to be the force before but they can be beaten and this has been proven. Nehwal and others do not fear the Chinese and this is good for the game."
This is Nehwal's third Olympics and the Indian lass has left no stone unturned in her preparations for the Rio Olympics. Nehwal is known for her hardwork in training.

She missed some tournaments early this year after picking up an Achilles injury end of last year. Before that Nehwal won the silver in the World Championships in Jakarta in August. Nehwal lost 16-21, 19-21 to Marin in the final.

Her bronze effort at the London Olympics came after China's Wang Xin retrired because injury after winning the first set.
For the record Nehwal won the world junior title in 2008. 

 

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