One of the most iconic athletes in the country, Saina Nehwal has achieved several milestones in Badminton for India. She is the first and the only Indian female player to attain the world no.1 ranking, first Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal, first to win Commonwealth Gold in women’s singles, first to win the World Junior and Commonwealth Youth titles, and is also the first Indian to win the Indian Super series title.
Saina took up Badminton post her father’s transfer to Hyderabad at a young age of eight. Her parents, both of who were former badminton champions in Haryana, influenced her foray into the world of badminton. She started her training under the guidance of Coach Arif before moving to PulellaGopichand’s academy and has never looked back since.
Her list of ‘firsts’ is so long, calling her trailblazer of women’s Badminton in India wouldn’t be an exaggeration. In May 2006, the 16-year-old Saina became the first Indian woman and the youngest player from Asia to win a 4-star tournament – the Philippines Open. In 2008, she became the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships defeating Japanese Sayaka Satoin straight sets.
In her maiden Olympic appearance in Beijing 2008, she became the first Indian woman to reach the quarterfinals. In June 2009, she became the first Indian to win a BWF Super Series title when she defeated Chinese Wang Lin at the Indonesian Open.
In the year 2010 Saina reached the semi-finals of the All England Super Series and followed it up winning a Bronze medal at the Asian Badminton Championship and then lead the Indian squad at the Uber Cup 2010 in which India reached the quarterfinals.She also became the first Indian woman to win badminton gold at the Commonwealth Games 2010 held in New Delhi. The government of India bestowed her the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2010 for her stellar performances.
At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Saina made history when she became the first Indian shuttler with a podium finish at the Olympics, clinching the bronze medal.
Saina continued her impeccable form in 2015, as she became the first Indian women's player to be World No.1 in badminton. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2016 by the President of India. Troubled by injuries in 2016, she has made a powerful comeback in 2017 winning the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold title and bronze medal at the 2017 World Badminton Championships at Glasgow.
- Bronze, World Badminton Championships, Glasgow 2017
- Winner- Malaysia Masters, 2017
- Winner – Australian Super Series, Sydney 2016
- Silver Medal, World Championships, Jakarta 2015
- Runner Up, All England Open, Birmingham 2015
- Winner – India Super Series, New Delhi 2015
- Winner – China Super Series premier 2014
- Winner – Australian Super series 2014
- Bronze (Team) – Asian Games 2014
- Winner, Denmark Open Super Series, Odense, 2012
- Bronze Medalist, Olympics, London 2012
- Winner, Indonesia Super Series, Jakarta, 2012
- Winner, Swiss Open, Basel, 2012
- Winner, Swiss Open, Basel, 2011
- Runner Up, Indonesia Super Series, Jakarta, 2011
- Winner, Hong Kong Super Series, 2010
- Gold Medalist, Commonwealth Games, Delhi, 2010
- Silver Medalist, Mixed Team Event, Commonwealth Games, Delhi, 2010
- Quarter-finalist, BWF World Championships, 2010
- Winner, India Open Grand Prix, 2010
- Semi Finalist, All England Open Badminton Championship, 2010
- Bronze Medalist, Asian Badminton Championship, New Delhi, 2010
- Winner, Yonex Sunrise Indian Open, Chennai, 2010
- Winner, Singapore Open Super Series, Lion City, 2010
- Winner, Indonesian Open, Jakarta, 2009
- Quarter-finalist, Olympic Games, Beijing, 2008
- Winner, World Junior Badminton Championships, Pune, 2008
- Winner, Chinese Taipei Open, 2008
- Gold Medalist, National Games, Guwahati, 2007
- Winner, Philippines Open, Manila, 2007
- Bronze Medalist, Commonwealth Games, Melbourne, 2006
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