Saina Nehwal became the first ever Indian woman to win the China Open Super Series Premier. She achieved this feat yesternight when she defeated Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi 21-12, 22-20 in the final. Previously she won 7 other Super Series titles but according to her, this was the best win ever. Saina told The Hindu in an interview, “I would rate this as the best compared to the other seven Super Series titles. It is tough because the courts are slow and the crowd cheers the local players.”
We are going to present to you eight less-known facts about the Indian super-girl who has made her country proud several times in recent past.
1. Very few know that the badminton-star, who is currently 4th in world ranking, was into Karate in her early childhood days and has a brown belt. She was learning the martial art from coach Indrasena Reddy in Hyderabad paying Rs.100 a month. But the karate coaching came to an abrupt end in December 1998 when, during a demonstration, the instructor prepared to run a motorbike over the hands of the students. Saina’s parents did not allow it and that decision proved to be a boon for the badminton fans.
2. Saina Nehwal was a born vegetarian but she had to give in to the circumstances and become a non-vegetarian in 2005 while in China. According to her coach P. Gopichand, when they found no vegetarian fare at a restaurant they were in, he told Saina to eat fish and crab. Now-a-days, Saina tries to stay away from fish or mutton but she likes to have chicken.
3. Saina hailed from a middle-class family and it was not-so-easy for her parents to meet the huge expenses towards her badminton training. Naturally, they were extremely happy when the Sports Authority of India came forward in 1999 and gave her a fellowship of Rs. 700, a kit and second class train fare for tournaments.
4. Just like any other girl, Saina is extremely fond of chocolates, biscuits and ice cream. Once, after visiting Malaysia, her weight went up by seven kilograms due to wrong diet and since then, she needs to take permission from her coach to celebrate a win with an ice cream!
5. Surprisingly enough, the Hyderabad resident likes to play in Indonesia more than anywhere else, including her hometown. She feels that she perhaps has more fans in Indonesia than in India. Probably that works in her favor whenever she plays in Indonesia Super Series Premier. Saina has won the tournament thrice, in 2009, 2010 and in 2012.
6. Saina Nehwal is supported by Olympic Gold Quest and is the brand ambassador of Sahara India Pariwar. Apart from endorsements, Saina made appearances in popular TV shows Satyamev Jayate and Comedy Nights with Kapil.
7. Saina’s parents wanted her to take up the medical profession at the first place but fortunately enough, she picked up the badminton racket. However, that wish became true in a slightly different way when Mangalayatan University conferred Honorary Doctorate Degree to her, in recognition of her Bronze medal in London Olympics. An elated Saina said that it “was a matter of great pride” for her to be honoured with the doctorate degree.
8. Her most favorite movie star is Shahrukh Khan and favorite movie is Chak de India. On the other hand, Saina’s favorite holiday destination is Singapore.
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