My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Saina Nehwal

Close on the heels of becoming the first Indian shuttler to win a medal at Olympics Saina Nehwal continued her good form to win the Denmark Open 2012. The third seeded Indian won the one-sided finals 21-17, 21-8 against her German opponent Juliane Schenk.

Saina has once again proved that she is one of the greatest sportswomen India has ever produced with this brilliant victory. Congrats to Saina and hope that she continues her good run and wins many more laurels for the country.

Yogeshwar Dutt winning the bronze medal with a swollen eye shows determination and courage of the man.

6 medals does not seem to be a big number but when you consider that this is India’s highest tally so far in the Olympics it is a fantastic achievement. The medal winners have done the country proud and there were surely some highs for Indian in London Olympics.


Shooting was India’s biggest medal contributor along with wrestling in this Olympics. Gagan Narang got the ball rolling for India when he won the men’s 10 meter air-rifle bronze. His performance for sure was inspiring and probably led the path for others to aspire for a medal too in the competition. Vijay Kumar though went one step higher when he clinched the silver medal in the 25 meter rapid fire pistol. The biggest disappointment though was Abhinav Bindra who was India’s gold winner in 2008 Beijing Olympics. He lost in the qualifying round and finished 16th overall. A huge disappointment considering that he was India’s medal hope this Olympics too.


Boxing along with Tennis was considered India’s best chance of gold in 2012 Olympics. Vijender Singh was India’s biggest medal hope as he won the Bronze medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics. This year also marked the debut of Women’s boxing in Olympics and India had 5 time world champion Mary Kom participating in the 51 Kg category. Mary Kom though did not disappoint as she fought tenaciously to become India’s only medal winner in Boxing. She lost her semi-final bout but had done enough to claim the Bronze medal.

Most of the Indian boxers reached the quarter-finals but could not progress to the semis which would have assured them of a medal.


World number 4 Saina Nehwal carried the hopes of the entire nation in Badminton. She was expected to win a medal in the event and she did not disappoint. Saina lost in the Semis but went on to win the Bronze medal when China’s Xing Wang retired after injury in the Bronze medal game. People might call this lucky as Saina was trailing 1 game to none but the Indian ace deserved this medal as she played brilliantly throughout the event.

In the men’s singles Parupalli Kashyap played brilliantly to reach the quarters but failed to reach the medal round. He for sure punched above his weight in the Olympics and I hope that this performance will inspire him to achieve greater heights in the future.


Again yet another sport in which India was expected to win few medals. Sushil Kumar who won the Bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics was once again India’s biggest medal hope in 2012. He did not disappoint though as he ended India’s Olympics on a high when he won the silver in the frees-style event. He fought bad health in the finals to give it all but could not get gold.

Yogeshwar Dutt too performed brilliantly to win the Bronze. He too battled injury to win the medal. His was one of the most inspiring performances for India in the 2012 Olympics for India. He battled a severely swollen eye to win the bronze medal match and for sure emphasized the hard work and determination.


Tennis was an event where India was supposed to win a medal for sure. Considering that we had the legends Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi in the mix. It was disappointing that we did not even reach the semis in any of the events. The event did not start on the right note when the legends ended up fighting on their differences and to be frank it was ironical that India failed to win a medal in this event. India needs to somehow unearth some good tennis players to replace Leander and Mahesh or we might just lose the great legacy these two have built in the doubles arena.

Overall this event was a grand success for India. 6 medals are twice as many we got in 2008 Olympics. Even though we did not win a gold medal this was a commendable performance. I just hope that this inspires more people to take up to athletics and sports in general in the future. The government needs to support these athletes too. It is very difficult to expect people to take up sports which might not even pay their livelihood. People keep saying that Indians have a population of 1 billion and we can’t even get a single gold. Even though it sounds bad it is not the entire story.The answer lies in the way we treat our athletes. There was news in the media as to how substandard the facilities were for these athletes when they were preparing for this event.

The government needs to make sure that people who are in athletics don’t give up the sports just because it becomes difficult for them to survive participating in it. Until there is a change let us just enjoy this success which was achieved amidst adversity and lack of support. Sponsors need to step in and support these athletes and make sure they get the best facilities to prepare and be in great condition when they represent the country at the highest level.

Saina and her coach P Gopichand return to a warm reception in India after her fantastic win in the Indonesian Open.

In India it would seem for an outsider that cricket is the only sport in existence. Hockey (India’s National game) has been on a wane for a long time now and nothing has been done about it. Indian Hockey team had to face the ignominy of not qualifying for the world cup and have pretty much struggled at the world stage over the past decade or so. So even though until the last few years we haven’t achieved anything great in cricket the major difference between cricket and other sports were the stars and individual achievements.

Cricket has always given its fan a star to idolize, which was something lacking in other sports. In the 90’s Leander and Mahesh captured the imagination of the Indians with wonderful performances and so did Gopichand with this All England title but not much from the other sports. But the last few years has changed the trend. Starting from Abhinav Bindra’s brilliant gold at the Olympics to Saina Nehwal’s wonderful run in Badminton, Indian sports has come a long way in that time. We have Vijender Singh in Boxing, Somdev in tennis, and Saina in Badminton and Abhinav Bindra in shooting and Viswanathan Anand in Chess. Saina I feel will end up as the best Indian women sportsperson in the history of Indian sports. At just 20 she has scaled enormous peaks and has become world number two and I hope that she becomes the best player in the world soon.

That is quite a line up I mentioned above, adding to that list is Armaan Ebrahim (Formula Two racer), Parthiva Sureshwaran (Formula two) and Karun Chandhok (Second Indian after Narain to represent in Formula 1) and Narain himself in NASCAR (US) reviving India’s interest in motorsports. So considering all this the last 10 years has been a golden period for Indian sports. I always believed that you need stars in other sports to get the kids interested. Media needs to play an important role in this too.

The next major hurdle now is the sponsors. Recently I was in conversation with one of our American colleague’s at lunch during the Soccer world cup and we asked him why American youngsters are not taking up Soccer as their career considering how well their National team performed at the event. He said it all came down to the money. Other sports in US such as Football, Baseball and Basketball ensure million dollar contracts, scholarship in a good college etc which soccer doesn’t here. Which was a very valid point as for parents to encourage their kids to take up a sport as a career, they will consider the financial aspect as their major criteria. That’s where cricket scores over the other sports in India.

Now with stars like Saina, Abhinav and Vijender in the mix I hope that these sports receive sponsors too. All the money right now goes only to one sport and it will be great if the respective associations try and get sponsorship and promote other sports to encourage youngsters to take up the same. I know this will be a long process and cannot be achieved overnight but we have to move in that direction.

A good talent should not be lost due to lack of money. We have a world number 1 middle weight boxer, World number two badminton player, Olympic gold medalist in shooting, Top 100 men’s tennis player and 4 players in world motorsports. This is indeed the golden era for Indian sports and we need to make full use of the same and hope that this scenario is not wasted. Good luck to Saina and others for the Commonwealth games in India. I hope that they make India proud win lots of medals in the upcoming CW games.

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