Shuttler by default: Saina

Shuttler by default: Saina
Highlights

Shuttler by default: Saina, Saina Nehwal, autograph hunters, London Olympics. Saina Nehwal, who obliged a number of enthusiastic autograph hunters along the way, said the day she won a bronze in London Olympics a part of her mother’s dreams was realized.

‘I have to confess that when I was a youngster I had no clue about badminton or what it was all about. The only exposure of the sport was when, as a nine-year-old, I accompanied my parents, who were pretty good when we were in Hissar. In those growing up days, my father wanted me to become a doctor while my mom sought excellence in whatever field I opted for.’

That was Saina Nehwal giving a pep talk to hundreds of school-going boys and girls at a function in the city on Saturday.

The largely attended event was part of the grand finale to the inter-school ‘Battle of the Best-Vision 2020’ competition that has been conceptualized by Gray Matters India of which the shuttler in the chief mentor.

Retracing the ‘memorable’ journey from the time she first took to the courts when caught in a Catch-22 situation where she had to choose between academic excellence and charting the sports route to her current status as an Olympic medallist, with the world number two rankings interspersed in the midst of a glorious career, Saina told the children that it was almost by default she had become a shuttler.

Exhorting the young audience to chase their dreams, she hoped that their parents, elders and even teachers would not discourage children who show sparks of sports brilliance as both were of equal importance.

“Once I began playing badminton, I somehow discovered that I had a natural flair for the sport, which became evident when I started winning age-group tournaments. At 16, I won my first international title, which gave me the impetus to scale dizzier heights. At one point when my father reminded me of his hopes of seeing me in a white coat, I asked whether they wanted me to do well in a particular profession or become the best in whatever field I chose. That, in a way, settled the issue, once and for all and there has been no looking back,’ she said.

Saina said that she was not one to rest content on the laurels because ‘I have to grow further and aspire for bigger things. Each day is a learning experience and it is from this inner feeling that one gets closer to achieving perfection in whatever one does.’

Saina Nehwal, who obliged a number of enthusiastic autograph hunters along the way, said the day she won a bronze in London Olympics a part of her mother’s dreams was realized.

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