Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal might be off the court now but she has added another feather to her cap. The Indian trailblazer was recently chosen as one of the five Integrity Ambassadors of the sport at the recently-concluded Dubai World Superseries Finals last week.
Nehwal joins World No. 1 Japanese women’s doubles pair of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi and top Danish shuttlers Viktor Axelsen and Christinna Pedersen as the face of the ‘I am badminton’ campaign launched by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). The world body started the campaign during the 2015 BWF World Junior Championships in an attempt to promote fair and clean competition in the wake of widespread doping, match-fixing, corruption and illegal betting.
For the 26-year-old Indian, this honour comes right after she became a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission.
The selected players will act as role models to budding shuttlers and promote the values of this programme both on and off the court. BWF also plans to add more ambassadors and expand this initiative in the upcoming season.
The five were presented to the world media by the BWF Deputy President Gustavo Salazar Delgado and were given certificates. Following that, they posed with the official slogan, ‘I am clean; I am honest; I am badminton.’
While announcing the five names, Delgado spoke highly of their commitment and passion for the sport and underlined that since they are at the centre of the sport, they are the most fitting candidates to lead this campaign.
“In establishing this (integrity) programme, we determined that, as our players are at the centre of our sport, it would be fitting to have some of them represent the 'i am badminton' campaign as ambassadors,” said Delgado, as reported by One India.
“It is my pleasure to welcome Ayaka Takahashi, Misaki Matsutomo, Saina Nehwal, Christinna Pedersen and Viktor Axelsen as the first BWF Integrity Ambassadors.
“They are five athletes who compete with passion and who take huge pride in playing cleanly and fairly. They represent the integrity of badminton. Congratulations to our new Integrity Ambassadors and I thank them all for their commitment to this programme,” explained Delgado.