11.6 C
New York
Saturday, April 20, 2024

My bronze will inspire youngsters: Saina

LONDON: Saina Nehwal reckons that her Olympic bronze medal will inspire more youngsters to take up the sport and the badminton scenario in the country will change soon with new talents coming through.

My bronze will inspire youngsters to take up badminton: Saina Nehwal

“This medal will change a lot of things. We will see a change in the badminton scene and more girls will take up the sport. PV Sindhu is doing well and similarly many more girls will come through like in China and Korea,” Saina said at the press conference after her Chinese opponent Xin Wang retired hurt from the bronze medal play-off match.”My aim was to win an Olympic medal and I have worked hard for it for the last five, six years. The whole thing is yet to sink in, I can’t believe that I have actually won an Olympic medal,” she said.Saina said she will now take a few days break and watch some movies and eat chocolates.”I have no celebration plans, (will) just take a few days break. I will watch some movies as I like movies. My dad doesn’t allow me to eat chocolates, but probably now I can eat some chocolates. Does not matter if I put on weight,” she said cheekily.Asked whether she slept well last night, Saina said, “I slept well last night. But could not sleep well ahead of the semifinal match. I had a feeling that I will do well. She changed her strategy in the second half of the first set,” the Hyderabadi said.”Initially I thought she (Wang) wasting time as she was getting tired. But later I realised that it was a serious injury,” she said.On whether she was satisfied with her match, she said, “It’s OK, not too good. I was playing well at the end but unfortunately she went down. I was lucky to get this medal.__PAGEBREAK__”It’s a dream. I wanted gold but I am happy. At the next Olympics I will do better. I never thought a player from India would get a medal at badminton. It’s a very proud day.”Saina said that the Chinese players were now “scared” of her as she has beaten quite a few of them in recent past.”At least I know they are scared of me, I can see it in their eyes, I am happy to scare six or seven of them. I just have to work out a good strategy again them. I have to be ready for them,” she said.She said she will analyse her semifinal match against Yihan Wang and see what actually went wrong.”My strategy was wrong with her. I allowed her to dictate terms and could not engage her in rallies. I have to come up with better plans for these players,” she pointed out.On being the only women’s singles badminton player from India at the Games, Saina said, “It’s much easier for the players like the Chinese as they have a lot of other players in the country to play against and they know each other’s games.”I have to worry each round. It’s tougher for me because I’m a single player.”Asked whether she has spoken to her father after the semifinal match, she said, “I have not spoken to him, I felt bad losing the match and not being able to bring the gold medal.”Whatever he did for me, everything that he did, I still cry because parents hardly ever do as much for their children as he has done for me,” she said.Saina’s coach P Gopichand said she was starting to come back and could have won the match had Wang not retired.”She was starting to come back. The way she came back from 19-12 to 20-18 — it was really sad and unfair that it had to finish that way (before Nehwal could come back). I think Saina was going to win. Wang was looking tired,” he said.On what Saina’s bronze means for Indian badminton, the former All England champion said, “Huge, I think. It’s been my dream for many years.On her strategy to beat Wang, the coach said, “Today the plan was to get longer rallies and stay in the match. I think yesterday she was a bit off colour and Yihan was too strong.”I thought today she looked good and was starting to come back. The way she was going I feel she was going to win,” he said.The acting president of IOA, Vijay Kumar Malhotra said Saina has done the country proud.”Although China surrendered and it was not an outright win it is still a victory. We cannot say that we wanted this to happen but a medal is a medal and we are very proud of Saina. She is one of the best sportswomen in our country,” Malhotra said.On the reception Saina will receive in India, he said, “She will receive millions and millions of rupees, there will be many functions in her honour and she will be very popular when she comes home.”PTI

Related Articles

Latest Articles