One is heavily criticised in India if one doesn't keep winning, feels Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal had been the country's flag-bearer at major premier badminton tournaments across the world. However, recently she has had to go through a lot of criticism after an early exit at Rio Olympics. And so far, her comeback has been a painful one. After crashing out of the China Open, she managed to make it to the last 8 in Hong Kong. However, these results seem to be well below par the expectations she has set for herself.
“Successful athletes are under huge pressure to keep winning, while remaining perfect role models,” Nehwal quipped.
“It’s quite a huge burden,” said Nehwal. ”The Indian public gets very much attached to you when you accomplish something great and if you lose they are going to criticise you in a bad way. “But if you win, you are everywhere.”
Once you are a sporting hero in India you have millions expecting much from you at every level of the game and with time the growing expectations gives the athletes ache of unwanted pressure, which is not easy to deal with.
It has happened with cricketers when they have slipped in major tournaments, with wrestlers when they have failed to impress and shuttlers who have missed on consistency.
Saina is the first Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal. However, she now has been labelled as “the lost hero of Indian badminton”. The world no. 26 crashed out of Hong Kong open in a well-fought match against the local hero Cheung Ngan-Yi. The Indian badminton ace has not had a great year so far and has failed to gain momentum.
Meanwhile, P.V Sindhu the current Indian badminton sensation in one of her toughest encounters of the year clinched a comfortable 21-17, 21-23, 21-18 victory against Liang Xiaoyu of Singapore. An exciting all-Indian clash which was likely to happen between Sindhu and Saina in the semi-final has now been sidelined, after the latter's loss in today's quarterfinal game.
Rio Silver medalist P.V Sindhu is high on confidence and promises of more titles underway as she progressed to the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open.
“This is only the start for me,” the world number nine told AFP at the Hong Kong Coliseum stadium, where she racked up her eighth straight win today. “There’s only more to come.”
With a very low female representation ration in sports, India needs to encourage talents like Saina Nehwal, who have set benchmarks in the area and have proved their worth at the National and International levels of the sport.