Star Sports have come up with a great solution for fans desperate to get a glimpse of their role model Saina Nehwal, by launching the 'Saina Squad' initiative. As many as 20 die-hard Saina fans will get a chance to travel with the legend to Dubai for the season-ending BWF World SuperSeries Finals in Dubai, where they will try their best to make Saina feel at home.
The selection of the 'squad' was done through a series of contests which attracted millions of participants, and #SainaSquad actually trended on Twitter on two separate occasions. But from those millions, only 20 lucky fans got their wish, and they will now have the chance of a lifetime to interact with India's badminton queen.
Here, we list the 20 lucky members of the Saina Squad - India's premier badminton cheerleading group:
Mr. Jatin Israni
The Saina Squad boasts four members from the capital city and Jatin Israni is the first one. He is a social media outreach specialist and has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter. Mr. Israni is a fun-loving traveller and blogger, who also enjoys Formula One and Cricket. Born on November 30, he is a fan of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh as well.
Mr. Nitesh Sajnani
Nitesh Sajnani hails from Ulhasnagar, which is a city located in Thane district of Maharashtra. A 'techie' in his own words, Nitesh also enjoys his time on social media and is a strategist for 6Space, which is India's first and only commercial web portal for real estate.
Dr. Nikita Kothari
Just like Delhi, Mumbai also has four participants in the Saina squad and Nikita Kothari is the first among the lot. A homeopathic doctor, Nikita loves Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan and Indian captain Virat Kohli. She excelled in the Fan Hunt round of the competition and will now make her way to Dubai to cheer Saina on.
Mr. Shivam Sharma
Mr. Sharma is going to be the lone representative of Pune in the Saina Squad. He is a lot of things, and has a pretty popular Twitter account thanks to the fictional character 'Ghanta Guy'. So naturally, you can find him on Twitter under the username @Ghantaguy.
Mr. Nikhil Aima
Saina Nehwal currently resides in Hyderabad and Nikhil Aima comes from there too. He is another one of those Saina Squad members who enjoyed success in the Quiz Master Saina round. When it comes to his likes, Nikhil is a follower of All India Bakchod and Indian Cricket, and Rohit Sharma in particular.
Mr. Prabhu Damodharan
You can find Prabhu Damodharan on Twitter under the username @Cricprabhu. Prabhu, along with Anoop Mani (who you will later see in the list) are the two Saina Squad members that come from Coimbatore. Prabhu is a textile professional and enjoys travelling, nature, wildlife and of course, sports. He is also a gadget freak like most of the other squad members that made the cut into the final 20.
Mr. Prathamesh Avachare
A teenager from Nashik, Prathamesh Avachare enjoys his time on social media. He is also a pencil sketch artist. Born on August 13, Prathamesh is a big time fan of Saina and Virat Kohli. When it comes to Bollywood, he loves Parineeti Chopra. You can find Prathamesh on Twitter under the username @onlyprathamesh.
Mr. Saravan Hari
Chennai Super Fans are likely to be familiar with this guy. Saravan Hari is a huge CSK fan who hails from Chennai and is also a Mahendra Singh Dhoni fanatic. He is known for painting himself in the Chennai colours and he even got the chance to meet up with his heroes because of that. You can find Saravan on Twitter with the username @Cricsuperfan.
Mr. Siddharth Kadambote
Siddharth, who goes by the Twitter handle @Sidsach, comes from Bangalore. He was a top performer in the Quiz Master Saina round, and also follows the Indian Super League. He is sure to add some extra flair into the Saina Squad when they will be cheering for her in Dubai.
Mr. Kumarshanu Babar
We have a cinematographer and filmmaker in the Saina Squad in the form of Kumarshanu Babar. He is a travel aficionado who has skills such as cinematography, editing and filmmaking in his arsenal. You can find Shanu on Twitter under the username @shanubabar7.
Mr. Anoop Mani
Straight from Coimbatore, we have Anoop Mani. He is a textile professional and enjoys hobbies like travelling and photography. He is also a cricket lover who supports Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League and the Indian team in the international scene. One other sportsperson that he loves as much as Saina is Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Mr. Aditya Venkata Chidurala
From Mumbai comes Aditya Venkata Chidurala. Born on November 8th, Aditya mainly spends his time on Twitter time to tweet about sports, politics and a bit of real estate. He is a cricket and tennis fan with Rafael Nadal being his hero in the latter. Formula One and Sebastian Vettel are also two things that Aditya follows keenly.
Mr. Sharath Chimmneiyan Valoth
Sharath Chimmneiyan Valoth is the second Banglore guy in the list. He was one of the stand-out performers in the Quiz Master Saina round of the Saina Squad competition and will be eagerly awaiting his chance to cheer for Saina at the Dubai Super Series.
Ms. Rachana Trivedi
Rachana Trivedi makes her way to Dubai from Rajkot. She performed well in the Cheer for Saina round which aimed at creating a chant for the badminton star. Rachana follows the likes of Sania Mirza, Salman Khan and musicians like Sunidhi Chauhan and Salim Merchant.
Mr. Mohamed Sharooq
Kochi is known for many things: the weather, crowded streets, the food, the Yellow Army of Kerala Blasters and much more. And Mohamed Sharooq is the lone Kochite in this list. He is currently a mechanical engineering student and loves his travelling and food. Apart from rooting for Saina, Sharooq is a big fan of English Premier League side Arsenal and Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
Ms. Gayatri Mehta
Chiplun is a small city located along the Mumbai-Goa highway and Gayatri Mehta gave the people there something to cheer about when she made the cut. She is a big fan of Madhuri Dixit and the Twitter handle @Madhuriholic suggests the same.
Ms. Sakshi Trivedi
Born on February 11, Sakshi Trivedi comes from the capital state. She excelled in the Saina Factoid Round of the contest and this helped her to make the final cut. You can find Sakshi on Twitter under the username @Sakshitrivedi11.
Ms. Riya Suri
One of the six females in the squad, Riya Suri comes from Delhi. Riya, who goes by the username @rvirgo9 on Twitter, excelled in the contests that happened throughout the filtering process. She was born on September 18 and is a 'gadget Freak' and a 'Twitter addict' from the description in her Twitter account, which is really active.
Mr. Himanshu Babbar
Himanshu Babbar's success in the Saina Squad initiative came mainly from the Quiz Master Saina round. He was one of the 20 participants that came out with flying colors in quiz thus proving how well he knows his idol. Himanshu hails from New Delhi and is our final Delhite in the list.
Ms. Kanchan Negi
Last but clearly not the least, we have Kanchan Negi from Mumbai. Unpuzzle Saina was one of the best rounds for Kanchan in the competition and in her own words, she is a social media influencer, an entrepreneur at heart, a fashionista, a sports lover, a music lover and as we all know, a big fan of Saina Nehwal.
These 20 devoted fans of Saina will be there in Dubai to support her, and hopefully, Saina will be spurred by their efforts and go all the way, returning back with the championship. And to the millions of fans who couldn’t make the cut, there is always a next time.
Once again, congratulations to all the winners!Published 14 Dec 2015, 16:30 IST