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Saina Nehwal ( Badminton Player )

London Olympics Bronze Medalist

Saina Nehwal is a badminton player from India who is among the world’s top players in women’s badminton and she has won a number of championships. Nehwal lived in Hisar town of Haryana state in India for a few years early in her life but the family relocated to Hyderabad when she was still only a child and it was in the new city that she learned the tricks of the game form some of the best known coaches in the game. Nehwal was a teenage sensation when she won the Under-19 national championships and from then on she went from strength to strength as she developed her game quickly and started winning major trophies in the professional circuit. She became the first Indian badminton player to win a BWF Series event and continued to impress on her way to winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2010. However, the most important win of her career was without doubt her bronze medal winning performance at the London Olympics in 2012. She has won a number of awards from the Government of India for her contributions and is without doubt one of India’s leading sportspersons.

Childhood & Early Life
Saina Nehwal was born to Harvir Singh and his wife Usha Rani in Hisar town of Haryana state in India on 17th March 1990. Her father worked in Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University in Hisar. She has a younger sister.

Nehwal studied at the Campus School located inside the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University campus initially but the family moved to Hyderabad after a few years. She passed her high school form St. Anne’s College Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad.

Nehwal was interested in badminton from an early age and was coached by Nani Prasad when she was a child. Subsequently, she was coached by S. M. Arif, an award winning badminton coach. In 2006, Nehwal burst into the limelight as a teenager when she won the Under-19 national championships. She also won the Asian Satellite Badminton tournament two times.

In 2006, Nehwal won the Philippines Open tournament and also performed well at several junior tournaments. She was the runner up at the BWF World Junior Championship held in 2006. Two years later she won the World Junior Badminton Championships and at Beijing Olympics held in the same year she reached the quarter finals. Following the Olympics, she won the Chinese Taipei Open.

Nehwal won the Indonesia Open in 2009, a BWF Super Series event and in the process became the first Indian badminton player to do so. The following year she played in the semi finals of the All England Super Series and the same year she won the Singapore Open Super Series and the Indonesian Open. At the Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi, India Nehwal won the gold medal in the women’s singles category and rounded off the year with the 2010 Indonesian Super Series title.

In 2011, Nehwal reached the final stages of several tournaments but could not win any titles but won the Swiss Open, Thailand Open Grand Prix, Indonesia Open Super Series and the Denmark Open Super Series in 2012. At the London Olympics 2012, Nehwal won the bronze medal in the women’s singles category.

Saina Nehwal won the singles title at the India Open Grand Prix on 26 January 2014 and reached the quarter finals of the All England Super Series Premier. The same year, she emerged as the winner of the women’s singles tournament at the Australian Super Series and also became the world’s 7th ranked player after winning that tournament. Nehwal also won the China Open Super Series that year.

In 2015, Saina Nehwal won the women’s singles event at the Indian Open Grand Prix Gold and in the final; she beat Spanish player Carolina Marina. At the All England Badminton Open Championships the same year, Marina beat Nehwal in the final. The same year, Nehwal won the singles event at the India Open BWF Super Series and became the number 1 women’s player in the Badminton World Federation rankings.

Awards & Achievements
Nehwal was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2009 and a year later, the Government of India honoured her with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India.

In 2009, Nehwal was honoured with India’s highest award for sporting excellence – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.

In 2016, the Government of India awarded Saina Nehwal the Padma Bhushan. It is the 3rd highest civilian honour in the country.

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