HomeSportsBadmintonSaina Nehwal: Story of India's Queen of Shuttlecock

Saina Nehwal: Story of India’s Queen of Shuttlecock

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Saina Nehwal is an Indian badminton player and India’s first shuttler to win a medal at the Olympics. She has been a world no. 1, and the only Indian woman to reach the landmark. Saina has 24 International titles to her name to date. Off the 24, 10 are superseries titles. Saina is an eminent athlete who has given an immense contribution to making the sport of Badminton popular in the country.

Saina Nehwal Information

Details
Full Name
Saina Nehwal
Age
31 years
Gender
Female
Sport Category
Badminton
Date of Birth
17 March 1990
Hometown
Hyderabad, Telangana
Height
1.65 m
Coach
Pullela Gopichand
Ranking
1 (2 April 2015). 19 (23 March 2021
Achievement
Bronze medal in London Olympics 2012. Silver medal in BWF world championship 2015. Bronze medal in BWF world championship 2017. Gold medal in CWG 2010 & 2018. Bronze medal in Asian games 2018
Networth
Rs. 36 Crore INR
Spouse
Parupalli Kashyap
Parent
Harvir Singh Nehwal and Usha Rani Nehwal
Teams Played for
India, North East Warriors, Awadhe Warriors
Alma Mater
Campus School located inside the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University campus. National Institute of rural development

Saina Nehwal Biography

Early Days of Saina Nehwal

Saina was introduced to Badminton by her parents, Harvir Singh and Usha Rani. Both of them have been former champions in Haryana. In fact, the right-handed shuttler was born in Dhindar, in the Hisar district of Haryana. Female foeticide and discrimination were rampant in Haryana. Thus, being a girl child, Saina faced a lot of challenges and resistance from her family. Most notable among them was her grandmother, who refused to see her for a whole month.

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Today she is the face of the government’s Beti Bachao campaign.

Saina used to frequently visit the local club where her mother uses to play. That proved to be the first exposure to badminton. As there was no professional facility of coaching for children, her father, Harvir had Saina enrolled for Karate. She fell in love with it and went on to ear a brown belt.

Saina Family KreedOn
Image Source: tcdb

Later on, due to Harvir Singh’s work, Saina came to Hyderabad with the family. She spent her formative years there.

READ | 7 Basic Badminton Skills You Can Learn Without Coaching

By the time the youngster had arrived in the city, Hyderabad had already become a badminton hub following local player Pullela Gopichand’s phenomenal rise that culminated when he won the All England crown in 2001.

At the age of 8, Saina Nehwal was spotted by PSS Nani Prasad Rao, a badminton coach at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh. Watching her talent, Rao convinced her father to allow her to pursue a career in badminton. Harvir Singh backed his daughter’s dreams without any hesitations. She later moved on to Pullela Gopichand’s badminton academy in Hyderabad.

READ | The journey of a Polio-affected boy who chased his dreams & changed the destiny

The family faced initial hiccups in adjusting to a Telugu-speaking neighborhood. Later, when Nehwal would choose to pursue badminton as her career, financing it was another headache her parents had to face. As a result, they had to sacrifice a lot.

Her expenses would range anywhere from INR 25,000 INR 60,000  per month. That included money for top-of-the-line equipment, coaching fees, travel expenses (the stadium was 30 km away from her residence). Her father, a government servant, recalled how he would borrow money from his friends, colleagues, and relatives just so as to provide Saina with all that she needed. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that her sister was studying pharmacy.

Nevertheless, her parents, especially her mother wanted to see Saina become a national champion and an Olympic medalist as well. Her dream would come true a decade later.

“We were determined to give Nehwal the best possible platform and I never bothered her with all this.” her father explained, “She was made to focus only on her game.”

The Rise of Saina Nehwal: 2006-10

Nehwal first caught the country’s attention in 2006, when she became the first Indian shuttler to win the Philippines Open. The 16-year-old had entered the four-star tournament as the 84th seed. On her run to the final, she had demolished many top-seeded players such as she announced her arrival on the international scene. Among them were the likes of Xu Huaiwen, a number four, and Malaysia’s Julia Wong Pei Xiang.

That year, she was also a runner-up at the 2006 BWF World Junior Championships, where she lost the hard-fought match to a much experienced and top-seeded Wang Yihan of China.

READ | Top 10 Famous Players of Indian Badminton

Saina Nehwal in 2008 Beijing Olympics

Saina 2008 Olympics KreedOn
Image Source: sify

Saina became the first Indian woman to reach the Olympic Games quarterfinals in 2008. She upset world number five and fourth seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong in a 3 game thriller. However, in the quarter-finals, Nehwal lost to the world no. 16 Maria Kristin Yulianti in another thrilling 3 gamer. In September 2008, Saina won the 2008 Yonex Chinese Taipei Open by beating Malaysia’s Lydia Cheah Li Ya of 21–8 21–19. Nehwal was, as a result, named “The Most Promising Player” of 2008. She then reached the world super series semi-finals in December 2008.

2009

Saina sustained her strong game form in 2009, breaking another record by winning the Indonesian Open, She was the first Indian to win a BWF Superseries title. She had to beat Chinese Wang Lin in the final 12–21, 21–18, 21–9  to earn the honor.

2010

Nehwal won a gold medal in the women’s singles event at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, helping India finish at the No. 2 positions in the medals tally.

Stardom: Post 2011

Nehwal had a relatively disappointing 2011, with the shuttler losing at the Korea Open, Malaysia Grand Prix, Singapore Open, Thailand Open GP, and Indonesian Open Superseries Finals.

However, something special was waiting for her to happen in the year 2012.

Nehwal first successfully won the Swiss Open Title by defeating China’s World No 2 Wang Shixian by 21–19 21–16. She then defeated Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand by 19–21 21–15 21–10, to lift the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold.

READ | PV Sindhu Biography 

On 17 June 2012, she won the Indonesia Open Super Series by defeating Chinese World No. 3 Li Xuerui by 13–21, 22–20 21–19. It was her 3rf Indonesia Open title.

On 4 August 2012, she won the bronze medal at the London Olympics after China’s Wang Xin retired from the match with an injury with the match in the balance at 18–21, 0–1. She became the first woman to win a medal in badminton at the Olympics and only the second to win any medal after Karnam Malleswari.

Nehwal rounded off the year 2012 by winning the Denmark Open Super Series Premier, defeating Wang Yihan 21–12 12–7 in the semifinal.

Saina went on to win the Indian Open GP, Australian Open SS, in the coming years to cement her status as India’s best badminton player of her generation. She was the first Indian to win a China Open Super Series.

She also reached the pinnacle of her career with a World No.1 ranking to her name, becoming the first Indian woman in the process to achieve the feat. The only other person to that distinction was Prakash Padukone.

2016-18

2016 was an injury-plagued season for her. Considered a medal prospect for India at the Rio Olympics, Nehwal crashed out of the competition relatively early. She later lamented her decision to participate in the event in spite of nursing an injury.

Saina with the gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games KreedOn
Image Source: Ndtv

Two years later, she made amends to her disappointing display at the Olympics by putting a strong show at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. She made it to the women’s singles final with fair ease. However, in the finale, Saina had a challenging tie against a fellow Indian and Olympic silver medalist, PV Sindhu. Nevertheless, her head-to-head record against the latter was in Nehwal’s favor (3-1).

The gold medal match was anything but easy, as Sindhu put up a daunting challenge against Saina. However, Nehwal’s perseverance and resilience gave her the edge, with the games ending at 21-18, 23-21.

READ | Sukant Kadam Biography

Then 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, she became the first Indian woman to win a badminton Asian medal. The European tour in the last quarter of 2018 is turning out to be disappointing, as she lost out in the finals at the Denmark Open and in the quarter-finals of the French Open.

In 2018, she was ranked 9th in the BWF rankings. She also earned a maximum of Rs. 80 lakhs in the PBL auctions.

2019

Saina Nehwal won her 1st BWF Super 500 title (the Indonesia Masters) against Carolina Marín in the year 2019. Carolina retired from the court due to injury which credited Saina the winning title.

Saina Nehwal Net worth

The estimated net worth of Saina Nehwal is approximately $ 5 million (36 crores). Most of her earnings are from career earnings and brand endorsements. Her annual salary is close to around $ 300,000. In 2012, Saina signed an Rs. 40 Crore deal with Rhiti Sports Company. She endorses top line brands like Herbalife, Top Ramen, Vaseline, Sahara India Parivar, and Edelweiss.

Saina Nehwal Marriage

Saina Nehwal, KreedOn
Image Source: indiatoday.in

On September 26th, 2018, it was reported that Saina would marry a longtime friend and fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap in December. Parupalli is also a seasoned badminton player and a product of Pullela badminton Academy as well.

Saina Nehwal Achievements

BWF Superseries

YearTournamentOpponentScoreResult
2016Australian OpenSun Yu11–21, 21–14, 21–19Champion
2015China OpenLi Xuerui12–21, 15–21Runner-up
2015India OpenRatchanok Intanon21–16, 21–14Champion
2015All England OpenCarolina Marín21–16, 14–21, 7–21Runner-up
2014China OpenAkane Yamaguchi21–12, 22–20Champion
2014Australian OpenCarolina Marín21–18, 21–11Champion
2012French OpenMinatsu Mitani19–21, 11–21Runner-up
2012Denmark OpenJuliane Schenk21–17, 21–8Champion
2012Indonesia OpenLi Xuerui13–21, 22–20, 21–19Champion
2011BWF Super Series FinalsWang Yihan21–18, 13–21, 13–21Runner-up
2011Indonesia OpenWang Yihan21–12, 21–23, 14–21Runner-up
2010Hong Kong OpenWang Shixian15–21, 21–16, 21–17Champion
2010Indonesia OpenSayaka Sato21–19, 13–21, 21–11Champion
2010Singapore OpenTai Tzu-ying21–18, 21–15Champion
2009Indonesia OpenWang Lin12–21, 21–18, 21–9Champion

BWF Grand Prix

YearTournamentOpponentScoreResult
2017Malaysia Masters Pornpawee Chochuwong22-20, 22-20Champion
2015Syed Modi International Carolina Marín19–21, 25–23, 21–16Champion
2014Syed Modi International P. V. Sindhu21–14, 21–17Champion
2012Thailand Open Ratchanok Intanon19–21, 21–15, 21–10Champion
2012Swiss Open Wang Shixian21–19, 21–16Champion
2011Swiss Open Sung Ji-hyun21–13, 21–14Champion
2011Malaysia Masters Wang Xin21–13, 8–21, 14–21Runner-up
2010India Open Wong Mew Choo20–22, 21–14, 21–12Champion
2008Chinese Taipei Open Lydia Cheah12–21, 21–18, 21–9Champion
2006Philippines Open Julia Wong Pei Xian21–15, 22–20Champion

Saina Nehwal Awards

  • Padma Bhushan 2016
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2009–2010)
  • Padma Shri (2010)
  • Arjuna Award (2009)
  • Most Promising Player of the Year (2008), BWF

Saina Nehwal Records

According to the official website of BWF badminton, the following is Jwala Gutta’s record over her career in BWF events.

READ | PT Usha: The Story of Sprint Queen of India

CAREER SINGLES

PERIODPLAYEDWONLOSTBALANCEEARNINGS
ALL629433196+237788,423
2018473314+1958,275

CAREER DOUBLES

PERIODPLAYEDWONLOSTBALANCEEARNINGS
ALL33924-151,069

CAREER MIXED

PERIODPLAYEDWONLOSTBALANCEEARNINGS
ALL321+10

 

Saina Nehwal Social media


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Monish Gadiya
Monish Gadiya is the Head of Content at KreedOn. He is a thorough tech-enthusiast and believes that innovation is the answer to all the problems prevalent in the society. Monish graduated from University of Pune with a degree in Civil Engineering before pursuing a post-graduate diploma course in intellectual property rights. A die-hard football fan, he has represented his college at various football competitions.

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