World number five and seeded fourth at the Olympics, India's badminton queen Saina Nehwal, finally was able to get a medal at the London games. However the manner in which she got it was dramatic. Her opponent world number 2 Chinese player after leading by one game had to concede the game to Saina as she could not play furthur due to a severe knee problem that got aggravated during the match.
Saina who had gone medal less in the 2008 Beijing Olympics was playing the bronze medal match.Earlier she had lost in the semi final round match to world no1, again a Chinese player. Having lost the first game by 18-21 she was determined to fight it out in the second match but fate intervened and the Chinese player had to retire due to injury. In the first match Saina had fought back from 9 points to reach 18 points. The second match could well have been hers and the third match would then have been an exciting decider.
However the ifs and buts have no meaning now. Saina has finally won a medal at the Olympics and brought cheer to all Indians. She has been on the upswing since the Beijing games and this year had won back to back titles which included defeating the Chinese players also. However in her six outings with Chinese world no 1 player she has lost all six times.
The spirited Haryanvi girl has learnt her badminton skills in Hyderabad from the equally famous, now coach, Gopichand. That she comes
The dream that Saina had seen as a eight year old of winning a Oympic medal has come true at London. What a great wish fulfillment. The credit goes to her discipline and character and her rigorous practice under the guidance and watchful eyes of her coach Gopichand. At all forums she has always expressed her gratitude to her coach.
The day she lost her semi final match the whole country saw tears in her father's eyes. All must have prayed for her good performance in the bronze medal play off match. The prayers were answered but in a different manner. So be it.
It was uplifting to hear Saina say after her victory that she looks forward to bettering her performance at the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janerio. That is the spirit. After all she is the only one challenging the Chinese at all venues, loosing some and winning some. How the Chinese would like to finish her challenge must be on their minds all the time.
Now onwards for many years it is going to be Saina versus China in badminton. All the best to Saina