Thanking the government for giving a helping hand to the country’s top sportspersons, India’s champion shuttler Saina Nehwal hopes the establishment will now put its weight behind upcoming talents striving to make a mark globally. (Saina Gets Rs. 25 Lakh From Sports Ministry)
Asked if the government can try helping those who are starting to shine, apart from the elite athletes, the world number 2 shuttler Saina, who was on Friday has given a cash award of 25 lakh by the ministry, responded in the positive.
“Players who are capable of doing well in any international events, their names should be in the government scheme. I must say the government is also giving a lot of help to sportspersons,” Saina said when asked about the government’s TOP (Target Olympic Podium) scheme.
The recent months had been very fruitful for Saina and the Hyderabad-based shuttler said she was looking forward to winning more titles. “My job is to give my best and not think about rankings. Lots of surprises were in store for me this year, which I didn’t expect,” Saina said on the sidelines of the Times Of India Sports Award.
“The last one year was a special experience, scaling the world number one ranking, reaching the finals of All England Championships, winning the India Open and China Open. I just want to stay focused. The performance has motivated me to do better. “I am a very emotional person and staying at the top is not easy. I have more dreams that I want to achieve,” said the player who was at the top of world ranking for two brief stints currently.
Talking about the Sudirman Cup, starting on Sunday, Saina said India was determined to improve their record in the prestigious tournament. “It’s about the team. I hope to do well in the Sudirman Cup. We hardly play team event.”
As talks turned to next year’s Rio Olympics, Saina said her main aim was to remain fit going into the quadrennial extravaganza. “I will strive to maintain my fitness, that is the key. There are ups and downs and they are part of life. The focus is on how to keep myself injury-free, I will focus on training right now,” Saina said.
Speaking about her partnership with the Bangalore-based coach Vimal Kumar, the 25-year-old shuttler said, “It has been good working with Vimal sir. I have won good titles after joining him. My movements on the court improved, we also focused on working on different strokes.” Compatriot PV Sindhu, coming back after an injury, said she was training for the upcoming tournaments.
“I have been practising hard for coming tournaments, India is doing very well nowadays. It’s not easy to come back from injuries. On return, I played in the Asian Championships and lost in the quarters. I am trying to get better, perform and win,” the soft-spoken 19-year-old ace shuttler said.