By Gitanjali Maria:
Saina Nehwal, the badminton sensation of India, has once again brought glory to India by winning the bronze medal at the London Olympics. She has given stunning performances this year by winning the Indonesian series as well as the Swiss Open Grand Prix.
There are a lot of sporting lessons that this 5’5’’ girl from Hyderabad can teach many of us. Other than being a talented badminton player, she shows great sportsmanship spirit and respect. Her conduct on the court and off the court has been impeccable, much like that of the cricketing maestro Sachin Tendulkar.Â Despite having been in the limelight for many years now and from a very young age too, she has never lost her focus on the game. She has never made a comment that was inappropriate. Her main focus has always been to play the game at her level best and never to surrender or accept defeat easily. She has carried the pressures and expectations of a billion Indians on her young shoulders with such composure that only a true professional could have done.
Her training schedule and sacrifices of small pleasures that she made throughout her career is what is helping her be one of the reigning badminton queens of the world. She was the only non-Chinese player to have reached the semis of the Olympics and the only one whom Chinese women badminton players fear. So much so, that it is rumoured that performance against Saina in previous encounters, was one of the criteria for selection to the Chinese contingent for Olympics.
Maintaining your dignity and composure and never losing focus on the sport are two main attributes of a sportsperson and Saina has never made any fault in either. This lanky girl knows true sportsmanship and did not have any overt celebrations when the Xin Wang (her Chinese opponent) retired hurt from the match and the bronze medal fell for her. She understood the circumstances and her behaviour was appropriate. Even when she loses a match she does it gracefully and concedes that there are weaknesses in her and that stronger opponents win the match.
Though there may be countless other sportspersons who imbibe the values of a true sportsman and live their personal and professional lives with dignity and stature, Saina has done things at a very young age especially when she has been under the media spotlight since a very long time.
There are no promises that this girl makes, she just goes to the courts and delivers what she knows is expected of her. There are a lot of things I admire in this young lady — her perseverance, her focus, consistency and the way she carries herself. Prayers and wishes that she may attain greater glorious heights for herself and for the country.