As a woman athlete, Saina Nehwal has really catapulted Indian badminton to new heights. Calling badminton as one of the widely followed sports will be wrong, but her contribution in promoting the game has been par excellence.
Not only has she reached the top of her game but she has also ensured to serve as an ambassador for badminton and sports.
The youth icon of the country became the first Indian to win a medal in badminton at the London 2012 Olympics. Last year, she became the first shuttler to become the World Number One. She had a troubling 2015 and her Australian Open triumph comes at a very good time with less than 60 days to go for Rio Olympics 2016.
The 26-year old from Hisar in Haryana has achieved so much in her career and easily get away with it. But she prefers not to.
Because this is Saina Nehwal and it won't suit her.
The Padma Bhushan awardee's performance won the hearts of million of Indians on social media.
From Prime Minister Narendra Modi
@NSaina awesome girl. Keep on shining and making our country so proud.— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) June 12, 2016
To the 'King of Bollywood' Shah Rukh Khan
Congratulations @NSaina for the stupendous victory. The entire nation is very proud of your sporting accomplishments.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 12, 2016
And the cricketers in a cricket-crazy nation
Congrats @NSaina on your Australian open win. Proud of your achievement!— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) June 12, 2016
Everyone congratulated Saina on her achievement.
Not to forget the other sports such as the Rio-bound boxer Shiva Thapa
The Indian female wrestler Vinesh Phogat:
What a match !! Maja aa Gaya... Superb @NSaina Congratulations— Vinesh Phogat (@phogat_vinesh) June 12, 2016
Or the Indian women's hockey star striker Rani Rampal:
Congratulations @NSaina for winning Australian Open Super Series.— Rani Rampal (@imranirampal) June 12, 2016
The outpouring of support showed the extent of her fan following. Success has never got into her head. One of the few individuals who have handled success better even after achieving various milestones and is respected in terms to down-to-earth attitude.
In the past few years, she has always kept her feet grounded even after record-breaking achievements. Credit goes to her parents. Between her cheers and tears, there has been a lot of hard work on the part of her father Dr. Harvir Singh.
When her daughter turned, twisted, leaped and fell - he was there. A scientist at the Directorate of Oilseeds Research, Dr. Harvir travels with her in every tournament and has ensured that dedication towards this sport is more important than fame. Encouraged by her love for the game, Harvir Singh invested all his savings in badminton at a time when they were struggling financially. Before Yonex offered to sponsor Saina’s kit, he had to withdraw money from his savings and provident fund in order to keep up with the rising cost of her training.
Saina Nehwal hasn’t disappointed him.
The intensity of emotions he goes through is indescribable and why not? He deserves it.
Being one of the top-ranked players and in the top 10 for so many years does add up to a little pressure. But then Saina is used to hit smashes, win matches and stand victorious. The badminton star taught us that it's not impossible to beat the Chinese athletes in an Olympic sport because they are human beings too.
Indians cannot be more proud because of this feeling of pride in having such a hero amongst us is irreplaceable.
What a day really enjoyed the tournament and every match of Saina at the Australia open 2016 pic.twitter.com/cRKNl6p0gS— Dr Harvir Singh (@NHarvir) June 12, 2016
Let's hope she can repeat her London feat in Rio 2016 and go one step further.