Saina Nehwal to make her comeback at the China Open in November
Much to the delight of India’s star shuttler Saina Nehwal’s large legion of fans, it has been announced that the former World No. 1 will return to the circuit at the China Open Superseries Premier that begins on November 15. The last time the 26-year-old was seen in competition was during the 2016 Rio Olympics in August where she crashed out in the group stage after suffering from a right knee injury.
The news about Nehwal’s much-awaited comeback has been confirmed by her father Harvir Singh. The World No. 5 could not have chosen a better tournament to resume playing competitive badminton. The China Open has been a happy hunting ground for her for the last couple of years.
In 2014, she created history by becoming the first Indian woman to reign supreme at the China Open. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist backed it up by reaching the final the very next year where she lost to local superstar and 2012 Olympic champion Li Xuerui.
Saina’s father has also said that her participation at the China Open will prevent the newly-appointed member of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission to attend a panel meeting on November 6.
Nehwal’s injury-induced exit from Rio was a huge setback after her medal-winning show in the previous edition. The problem, which completely hampered her on-court movement, was later diagnosed to be an infrapatellar spur displaced fracture and patellar tendon impingement in her right knee and required her to have a surgery for complete recovery.
She was in a rehab process for the last few weeks and had been providing regular updates about it on her social media accounts. In an effort to gain strength in her legs, she took to swimming and running which were the first two phases of her rehab.
On Monday, she returned to the training court in Bangalore for the first time since the surgery. In a video that she later posted on Twitter, the shuttle queen appeared to be comfortable with light movement and hitting smashes.
Saina had previously emphasized that she was not willing to rush things and will only decide about returning to competition depending on how she felt in training. With the announcement coming three days into her training, one assumes things are on the right track.