Saina Nehwal is an Indian Badminton player born on 17th March 1990. She hails from the Hyderabad district of Telangana. In April 2015, She became the first woman badminton player to be ranked No.1 in the world.
Saina Nehwal was born to Harvir Singh Nehwal and Usha Rani Nehwal. Her father is a Ph.D. in agricultural science and her mother is a former state-level badminton player. Both her parents were badminton state champions.
Saina had spent the initial years of her childhood in Haryana before she and her family moved to Hyderabad due to her father’s transfer. Her interest in badminton picked up when she would frequently visit the local club in Haryana where her mother had played. At the age of 8, Saina’s badminton talent was spotted by PSS Nani Prasad Rao, a coach at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh, and persuaded her father, Harvir, to let her pursue badminton.
Saina first received training from the Sports Academy of Andhra Pradesh and later moved to Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad. Apart from badminton, she has a brown belt in Karate. She is married to fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap.
Rise to Glory
Saina tasted her first success by winning the Sub-Junior National title in the U-13 Category in 2002. In 2004, she won the Junior National title and 3 years later, she became Senior National Champion. Saina has 14 National titles in singles and doubles at Sub-Junior, Junior, and Senior Nationals.
In 2005, she won her first international title by winning Asian Satellite Badminton Tournament in India. In 2009, she won her maiden India Grand Prix title by defeating compatriot Aditi Mutatkar. A year later, Saina won the India Open title by defeating Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia.
In 2014, Saina defeated P.V Sindhu to clinch the India Grand Prix Gold title. She won her first Syed Modi International title in 2015.
Saina Nehwal made her World Championships debut in 2006 at the age of 16, where she was defeated by Jiang Yangjioa in the 1st round. That year, she reached the final of the World Junior Badminton Championships and ended up as a Runner-Up.
In 2007, Saina competed in her debut All England Badminton Championships and lost in the 2nd round. Later, in July, she lost in the 2nd round of the World Junior Badminton Championships. A year later, she won the Gold medal in Girls Singles at the Commonwealth Youth Championships, followed by the World Junior Badminton Championships title. Saina represented India at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and ended her campaign as a quarterfinalist.
In 2009, she won the Indonesia Open and became the 1st Indian badminton player to win BWF Super Series titles. In August, she competed in the World Badminton Championships, where reached the quarterfinals.
At 2010 All England Badminton Championships, she reached the semifinals and lost to Tine Rasmussen of Denmark. In April, she won the Bronze medal at the Asian Badminton Championships and in October, she bagged a Gold and a Bronze in Women’s Singles and Mixed Team respectively at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
In 2011, she qualified for the BWF Super Series Masters Final and became runner-up after losing to Wang Yihan of China. At the 2012 London Olympics, she won the Bronze medal after her opponent Wang Xin retired from the match. In 2014, she won the Australian Super Series title by defeating Carolina Marin.
At the 2014 Asian Games, she and the Indian Women’s Team won the Bronze Medal. In 2015, she became the 1st Indian player to reach the World Badminton Championships final and won the Silver medal after losing to Carolina Marin. At the 2016 Asian Badminton Championships, Saina settled for Bronze after she lost to Wang Yihan.
In 2017, Saina settled for a Bronze medal at the World Badminton Championships. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, she won two Gold medals in Women’s Singles and Mixed Team in Glasgow, Scotland. In September, she won the Bronze medal at the Jakarta Asian Games.
Saina Nehwal set her eyes on qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as she has to be in top-16 to make it to the event.