Saina Nehwal ( pronunciation (help·info); born 17 March 1990 in Dhindar, Hisar, Haryana) is an Indian badminton player who attained a career best ranking of 2 in December 2010 by Badminton World Federation. She is the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton at the Olympics. She achieved this feat by winning the Bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012 on 4 August 2012. She is the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships and was also the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament, by clinching the Indonesia Open with a victory over higher-ranked Chinese Wang Lin in Jakarta on 21 June 2009. Saina is supported by the Olympic Gold Quest.
Saina won her second career Super Series title by winning the Singapore Open title on 20 June 2010. She completed a hat-trick in the same year by winning the Indonesian Open on 27 June 2010. This win resulted in her rise to 3rd ranking and subsequently to No. 2. Later in the same year she also won Hong Kong Super Series on 12 December 2010. After experiencing a poor 2011 season, Saina became the first Indian singles player to reach the summit stage of year-ending Super Series Finals defeating two-time All England champion and former World No. 1 Tine Baun in the semi-finals, a feat she repeated in the quarterfinals in the London Olympics 2012. Though she lost in the semi-finals of London Olympics 2012 to Wang Yihan, she secured the bronze medal against Wang Xin. After Xin won the first game 21–18, Xin had to walk out of the match due to aggravation of her knee injury, thus making Saina the winner.
Previously coached by S. M. Arif, a Dronacharya Award winner, Saina is the reigning Indian national junior champion and is currently coached by Indonesian badminton legend Atik Jauhari since August 2008, with the former All England champion and national coach Pullela Gopichand being her mentor.
Saina Nehwal was born in a Jat family at Hisar in Haryana and completed first few years of her schooling from Campus School. Her Father Harvir Singh originally hails from village "Dhindar" which falls under Modinagar Tehsil in District Ghaziabad(U.P). Harvir Singh initially worked in CCS HAU and they then had their residence in the University Campus. He later shifted to Hyderabad & so Saina spent her growing years in Hyderabad, India. Her foray into the world of badminton was influenced by her father Dr. Harvir Singh, a scientist at the Directorate of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad and her mother Usha Nehwal, both of whom were former badminton champions in Haryana. She is the top ranked player (women) in Indian Badminton history. In 2012, journalist and former NDTV editor T. S. Sudhir wrote a biography on Saina.
She is India’s highest-paid non-cricketing sportsperson as on September 2012.
Childhood and early training 
Saina completed her schooling at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Vidyashram, NIRD campus, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad. Nehwal has a brown belt in Karate. However, she quit Karate at the age of 8, when she was asked to have a motorcycle run over her stomach. She practised Badminton in Badminton Court of Faculty Club of CCS HAU located in the University itself.
Career summary 
Saina was the under-19 national champion. Saina created history by winning the prestigious Asian Satellite Badminton tournament (India Chapter) twice, becoming the first player to do so.
In 2006, Saina appeared on the global scene when she became the first Indian woman to win a 4-star tournament, the Philippines Open. Entering the tournament as the 86th seed, Saina went on to stun several top seeded players including the then world number four Xu Huaiwen before defeating Julia Wong Pei Xian of Malaysia for the title. The same year Saina was also the runner up at the 2006 BWF World Junior Championships, where she lost a hard fought match against top seed Chinese Wang Yihan. She did one better in the 2008 by becoming the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships by defeating ninth seeded Japanese Sayaka Sato 21–9, 21–18.
She became the first Indian woman to reach the quarter finals at the Olympic Games when she upset world number five and fourth seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong in a three-game thriller. In the quarter-finals Saina lost a nail biting 3-gamer to world number 16 Maria Kristin Yulianti. In September 2008, she won the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open 2008 beating Lydia Cheah Li Ya of Malaysia 21–8 21–19. Maria Yulianti had earlier lost her quarter-final match to Pia Bernadet, Saina's semi-final opponent, thus denying Saina a rematch.
Saina was named "The Most Promising Player" in 2008. She reached the world super series semifinals in the month of December 2008.
On 21 June 2009, she became the first Indian to win a BWF Super Series title, the most prominent badminton series of the world by winning the Indonesia Open. She beat Chinese Wang Lin in the final 12–21, 21–18, 21–9. Saina on winning the tournament said, "I had been longing to win a super series tournament since my quarter final appearance at the Olympics". Saina is on the par with the likes of Prakash Padukone and her mentor Pullela Gopichand who both won the all England championships which are of similar status to the super series. In August 2009 she reached the quarterfinals of world championship losing to the second seed Lin Wang. Saina Nehwal was rewarded with Arjuna award in August, 2009 and her coach Gopichand was also rewarded with Dronacharya award at the same time.
Saina has been signed up by Olympic Gold Quest to support her in fulfilling her dream of winning the Olympic gold medal. Saina was awarded with Padma Shri award in January 2010. Saina is the brand ambassador of Deccan Chargers, an Indian Premier League team owned by Deccan Chronicle. She has also become one of the 8 brand ambassadors of 2010 Commonwealth Games held on New Delhi India.
Saina was awarded the highest national sporting award given to a player, The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award on 29 August 2010.
On 20 June 2010 Saina won the Singapore open super series, her second super series by defeating Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese taipei 21-18,21-15 2010 Singapore Super Series
On 14 October 2010 Saina won the gold medal against Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia 19–21, 23–21, 21–13 in CWG Delhi, thereby creating a monumental moment in India's badminton history.
On 12 December 2010 she won the Hong Kong super series defeating Wang Shixian of China 15–21, 21–16, 21–17. Saina Nehwal won 2010 Commonwealth games gold in the women's singles badminton event held in the Siri Fort Auditorium, Delhi, on 14 October 2010.
On 10 June 2012 she won the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold final defeating Ratchanok Inthanon in three sets.
On 17 June 2012 she successfully reclaimed the Indonesian championship by beating Li Xuerui of China. It is her third Indonesian open title, having won it twice before in 2009 and 2010.
In London Olympics 2012 she created history as she became the first Indian ever to win an Olympic medal in badminton. Playing her bronze medal match against the World number 2 of China Wang Xin of China Saina ended on a winning note after her opponent conceded the match due to a knee injury after taking a 1–0 lead.
On 21 October 2012 she became the second Indian to win the Denmark open by defeating Juliane Schenk of Germany. She defeated her opponent 21-17, 21-8 in around 35 minutes to complete her win. There were many Indian supporters in the crowd which loudly cheered her each and every point. She acknowledged their support by throwing two badminton rackets at them after her win. She thanked God and her fans for the win. This was her fourth title of the year. This second Super Series Premier title fetched her USD 30,000 from a total purse of USD 400,000. The victory was sweet revenge for Saina who had lost in straight games to Schenk the previous year. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar presented a brand new BMW car to Saina Nehwal gifted by Andhra Badminton Association for winning a bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012.
In 2002, sports brand Yonex offered to sponsor Saina’s kit. As her status and rankings improved, the sponsorships increased. In 2004, BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited) signed the rising star. She is one of the athletes supported by Olympic Gold Quest. The following are Saina's brand endorsements.
Career overview 
|Commonwealth Youth Games
Singles performance timeline 
Record against top ranked players 
Record against Super Series finalists, World Championships semifinalists, and Olympic quarterfinalists. (as of 27 March 2013)
Career record 
BWF World Ranking & Points 
Summer Olympics 
- Saina successfully led the Indian Women Team to the Quarter-finals stage of the 2010 Uber Cup finals.
- Top seeded Saina reached the semifinals of Yonex Sunrise Badminton Asia Championships 2010 losing out to unseeded eventual champion Li Xuerui of China. Saina's Coach Gopichand advised her not exert too much pressure on herself due to the overwhelming home crowd support.
- Saina won the second Super Series title of her career by beating qualifier Tai Tzu-Ying of Chinese Taipei in the final of the Singapore Open 21–18, 21–15. But the fact that she won the tournament in the absence of all the top 5 ranked players (who all happen to be Chinese), takes a little sheen away from her path breaking victory. Saina won a prize money of $15,000 for winning this BWF Super Series tournament.
- Saina has reached a career high of world no. 3 in the women's singles badminton world rankings on 24 June 2010.
- Saina defended her Indonesia Open super series title in three tough games against Sayaka Sato of Japan, 21–19 / 13–21 / 21–11.This is her third super series title and her third successive title following wins at Indian open, Singapore Super series. She again won the top prize money of $18,750 for winning this BWF Super Series tournament.
- On 15 July 2010, with 64791.26 points Saina Nehwal reached a career high world ranking of No. 2 only behind Wang Yihan of China.
- 2nd seed Saina, a tournament favourite, crashed out of the 2010 BWF World Championships in Paris after losing to 4th ranked Chinese Wang Shixian in straight sets 8–21, 14–21. She although equalled her tournament best performance, as she was also a losing quarter-finalist in the last edition held in Hyderabad. She subsequently dropped a spot to be No. 3 in the world rankings.
- Top seed Saina, won the gold medal in the Women's Singles badminton event in the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi. She beat Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia 19–21 23–21 21–13. After her win Saina said, “when I was a match-point down, it was like a shock. It was a big match and winning it means a lot to me. Even many years from now, those present here will always remember how Saina won the gold. It is a proud feeling.”
- Saina Nehwal confirmed her participation for the 2010 Hong Kong Super series to held from 7 to 12 Dec 2010 and is also the penultimate super series tournament of the year. This would be Saina's first super series tournament after a gap of more than 5 months since her win in the 2010 Indonesia Super Series in June 2010.
- On 12 December 2010, Saina Nehwal defeated Wang Shixian 15–21, 21–16, 21–17 in the final of the 2010 Hong Kong Super Series to win her fourth career Super Series title.
- 4th seed Saina Nehwal crashed out of the 2011 Korea Open Super Series Premier on 27 January 2011 in the 2nd round. She was defeated by the Japanese Sayaka Sato in a tight 3 set match with score 17–21,21–19 and 21–11.
- 5th seed Saina, was disappointed when she was defeated by Eriko Hirose of Japan at 2011 All England Super Series Premier on 11 March 2011. She was defeated in straight sets with a score of 21–11 and 22–20. It was her second early exit of the year after being defeated in Korean Premium Super Series earlier in January.
- One week later, on 17 March 2011, she met Eriko Hirose again (in the second round of the Wilson Badminton Swiss Open), but managed to win this time in three games 21–15, 17–21 and 21–11 – on her birthday.
- 2nd seed Saina Nehwal beat Ji Hyun Sung of South Korea 21–13, 21–14 to win the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold badminton title on 20 March 2011.
- Saina Nehwal posed an early exit from the Indian Open Super Series in Delhi. She disappointed the home crowd being defeated by Ai Goto of Japan in straight games 21–17 and 21–19.
- Saina Nehwal faltered after a good start as she lost to the then world number three Wang Xin of China in the finals to finish runner-up in the 2011 Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold tournament on 8 May 2011.
- Saina Nehwal participated in the 2011 BWF Double Star Sudirman Cup Mixed team event, she won her first match against Tzu Ying Tai of Chinese Taipei which was a tough three setter 21–10, 12–21 21–17, but India lost the tie 3–2. She was then shocked in her second match by current Junior World Champion & 16 year old teen sensation Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand losing in straight sets 21–14, 22–20, but India managed to beat Thailand 3–2 in the tie to book a spot in the quarterfinals of the Elite mixed team event for the first time in the history of the tournament. In the quarterfinals against the mighty Chinese, Saina put up her best performance and beat the then World number two Xin Wang in straight sets 21–15, 21–11, but still the Chinese managed to move into the semi finals with a 3–1 win over India.
- Saina lost to Li Xuerui of China in the quarterfinals of the Thailand Open GP Gold.
- Defending Champion Saina lost to Cheng Shao-chieh of Chinese Taipei in the second round of Singapore Open Super Series
- Saina, in her attempt to record a third straight win at the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier, reached the finals where she lost to Wang Yihan of China to finish as runner-up, on 26 June.
- Saina Nehwal crashed out of World Championship 2011 as she lost 15–21, 10–21 to World Number 3 Wang Xin of China in a lop-sided women's singles match. Saina, who reached the quarterfinals in the last two editions of the event, had to be contend with yet another last-eight finish.
- Saina Nehwal lost in quarter finals of 2011 China Masters Super Series against World No. 1 Wang Yihan of China in straight games 8–21, 12–21.
- Saina Nehwal lost in semi finals of 2011 Japan Super Series against Juliane Schenk of Germany in straight games 19–21, 10–21.
- Saina Nehwal disappointed once in the 2011 Denmark Super Series Premier as she lost to 17 year old teen Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan in straight games 19–21, 13–21 in the second round.
- Saina Nehwal repeated her shocking second round exit in the 2011 French Super Series as she lost to World No. 16 Li Xuerui of China in straight games 18–21, 29–30.
- Saina Nehwal lost in quarter finals of 2011 Hong Kong Super Series against World No. 7 Tine Baun of Denmark in straight games 16–21, 15–21.
- Saina Nehwal was defeated in the very first round of 2011 China Open Super Series Premier by World No. 8 Bae Youn-joo of South Korea 21–15, 22–24, 15–21.
- During the season ending tournament in December, Saina Nehwal created history by becoming the first Indian singles player to reach the final of BWF Super Series Masters Finals after defeating World No. 5 Tine Baun of Denmark to cruise 21–17, 21–18 in the semifinals of the 2011 BWF Super Series Masters Finals in Liuzhou (China). She went on to lose the final 21–18, 13–21, 13–21 against the World No. 1 Chinese Wang Yihan in a contest lasting over an hour.
- Saina Nehwal successfully defended her Swiss Open Title by defeating World No 2 Wang Shixian of China 21–19 21–16 on 18 March 2012, a day after she turned 22 years old.
- On 10 June 2012, Saina defeated Thailand’s Ratchanok Inthanon 19–21 21–15 21–10, to lift the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold title.
- On 17 June 2012, Saina Nehwal won the Indonesia Open Super Series by defeating World No. 3 Li Xuerui of China 13–21, 22–20 21–19. It was her 3rd Indonesia Open title.
- On 4 August 2012, she won the bronze medal at the London Olympics when China's Wang Xin retired from the match after an injury with the match at 18–21, 0–1.
- On 21 October 2012, she won the Denmark Open Super Series Premier after defeating Wang Yihan 21-12 12-7 in the semifinal. Yihan got retired hurt in this match after losing first set and trailing in second set. In the final Saina defeated Juliane Schenk of Germany in two straight sets to lift her first Denmark open trophy.
2012 London Summer Olympics 
|| Jaquet (SUI)
|| L Tan (BEL)
|| Yao Jie (NED)
|| Tine Baun (DEN)
|| Wang Yihan (CHN)
|Bronze Medal Match
|| Wang Xin (CHN)
||18–21, 0–1 retired
- For the Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics
See also 
- ^ a b "Saina Nehwal | India Medal Hopes | Badminton | Delhi Commonwealth Games | Profile | Career – Oneindia News". News.oneindia.in. 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- ^ a b – Best World Ranking
- ^ "Badminton World Federation – BWF World Ranking". Bwfbadminton.org. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- ^ "Saina first Indian shuttler to win Olympic medal". Retrieved 4-08-2012.
- ^ "'Miracle win': Saina Nehwal wins bronze medal after opponent pulls out". Aug 04 2012.
- ^ "Saina signs with Olympic Gold Quest". Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- ^ Atik Jauhari, India's Foreign Coach not happy with players – dated 16 April 2009
- ^ Sra, Gunjeet. "The frontrunners". India Today (India Today Group). Retrieved 3 March, 2013.
- ^ "Think higher education! Saina Nehwal: "Don't leave studies"". Careers360. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- ^ Saina Nehwal Latest Photos
- ^ Saina's story
- ^ Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal joins big league with £4.6m deal | Sport | guardian.co.uk
- ^ India’s badminton star signs $7.4m deal - thenews.com.pk
- ^ "Saina Nehwal gave up karate to embrace badminton". 6 July 2012.
- ^ "Image makeover for super Saina Nehwal". The Times Of India. 6 February 2011.
- ^ Saina creates history, wins Philippines Open – The Hindu dated 29 May 2006
- ^ Saina wins Chinese Taipei Open
- ^ Most Promising Player 2008
- ^ Saina only wins praises but no prize money
- ^ Saina Nehwal wins Indonesian Open
- ^ Saina Olympic Dream
- ^ a b "Saina wins Padma Shri". Times of India. 2010-01-25.
- ^ Saina Nehwal bags bronze in London Olympics 2012, becomes the first Indian shuttler to win a medal in Olympics
- ^ Saina Nehwal thanks God and fans for Denmark Open victory
- ^ "Highlights: Saina Nehwal beats Juliane Schenk; wins Denmark Open". Retrieved 21-10-2012.
- ^ "Sachin Tendulkar gives away BMW to Saina Nehwal". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- ^ BPCL
- ^ Olympic Gold Quest Official website
- ^ Herbalife Sponsorship List
- ^ About Top Ramen
- ^ "Saina endorses Fortune". The Economic Times. 2009-09-24.
- ^ "Record against top ranked players". Tournament software India. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- ^ SamayLive: Saina becomes World No3
- ^ Subrahmanyam, V. V. (27 June 2010). "Saina Nehwal clinches third Super Series title". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
- ^ "Saina Nehwal Wins Gold Medal for India In Badminton". Retrieved 14-10-2010.
- ^ Rao, Rakesh (14 October 2010). "Saina wins singles gold". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- ^ BWF World Super Series Ranking – Womens Singles
- ^ "Saina Nehwal wins Hong Kong Open Series". Retrieved December 12, 2010.
- ^ "Early exit for Saina at Denmark Open Super Series". 20 October 2011.
- ^ "Saina crashes out of Hong Kong Open quarters". Nov 18, 2011.
- ^ "South Korean Youn Joo Bae shuts the door on Saina Nehwal at the India Open". Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- ^ "Saina Nehwal Beats Tine Baun in BWF Super Series Semis". Retrieved 17-Dec-2011.
- ^ "Saina Nehwal loses to China's Wang Yihan in World Super Series final". Retrieved December 18, 2011.
- ^ "Saina Nehwal defends Swiss Open title".
- ^ "Saina Nehwal". Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- ^ "Saina Nehwal wins the Indonesia Open". 17 June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- ^ "Current Ranking". 14 June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- ^ "Saina Nehwal wins her third Indonesia Open title". 17 June 2012.
- ^ "Saina loses to Yihan, now faces Wang for bronze". 4 August 2012.
- ^ Saina Nehwal wins Denmark Super Series
- ^ "Results".
- ^ PTI 30 Jul 2010, 03.37pm IST (2010-07-30). "Saina Nehwal to get Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award – Economic Times". Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- ^ PTI 4 Aug 2012, 07.56PM IST (2012-08-04). "Haryana govt announces Rs 1 crore for Saina Nehwal – Times Of India". Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- ^ PTI 13 Aug 2012, 05.17PM IST (2012-08-13). "Rajasthan announces cash awards for Olympic winners Vijay Kumar, Sushil Kumar, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and others – Economic Times". Economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- ^ "AP govt announces Rs 50 lakh cash reward for Saina Nehwal". Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- ^ "BAI announces Rs 10 lakh award for Saina Nehwal". Indian Express. 2012-06-22. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
- ^ daily.bhaskar.com
External links 
BWF World Rankings · Top ten badminton players - May 9, 2013