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World Badminton Championships 2017: Saina Nehwal talks about surprising schedule, wishes she could push more

The 2015 silver medallist had to settle for the bronze after her semi-final loss to Nozomi Okuhara.


BWF Dubai World Superseries Finals - Day 3
Saina Nehwal

What’s the story?

Saina Nehwal may have bowed out of the 2017 BWF World Championships but not before showing the world a glimpse of her famous fighting spirit and hunger to perform at the highest level. It was a physical match and the seventh seeded Nozomi Okuhara’s resolute defence ultimately wore her down, sending the 2015 World Championships silver medallist with a 12-21, 21-17, 21-10 scoreline.

For Saina, who has admitted to still having tendinitis pain, her display has been extremely encouraging and she proved once again that there is lot of fight still left in the former World No. 1.

In her post-match media interaction, she has expressed satisfaction that she has been coming back well although she wished she could have pushed the unbreakable Japanese a bit more, as reported by Firstpost.

The London Olympic bronze medallist also went on to point out the questionable scheduling of the matches which left both her and Okuhara with little time to recover between their quarter-final and semi-final matches.

“We thought we would play in the second half but the scheduling was surprising. We did not have a lot of time to recover,” said the 27-year-old as quoted by Firstpost.

In case you didn’t know...

Nehwal had made it to the World Championships quarter-finals a record seven consecutive times, showing her consistency. Out of those attempts, she crossed the last-eight hurdle only twice, settling for the silver in 2015 and the bronze this year.

In 2015, she lost to the defending champion Carolina Marin, 16-21, 19-21 in a gritty two-game contest.

The heart of the matter

Both Saina Nehwal and Nozomi Okuhara had their respective quarter-final matches in the evening session at the BWF World Championships 2017 on Friday. And both of them had to take the long, winding route to book their spots in the last-four.

While Okuhara needed 1 hour 33 minutes to edge the two-time defending champion Carolina Marin 21-18, 14-21, 21-15, Nehwal battled for 1 hour 14 minutes to subdue the 16th seeded Kirsty Gilmour 21-19, 18-21, 21-15.

Both of them had about 16 hours gap in between their quarter-final and semi-final matches.

And that is what makes the schedule surprising as the other semi-finalists, PV Sindhu and Chen Yufei, played in the morning session but got their semi-final clash at the end of the day on Saturday, making it about 28-30 hours gap for them.

What’s next?

Saina’s next tournament is expected to be the Korea Open Superseries that begins on September 12.

Author’s take

Having scaled the summit of the world rankings and grabbed medals at the Olympics, the World Championships and the All England Championships, Nehwal’s undying passion for the sport has not diminished one bit. She still wants to vie for the biggest titles and keep challenging all the top stars.

That itself is a mark of the true champion that she is. Her persistent efforts will surely bear fruits as she is close to getting back to her very best. 

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