So Near Yet So Far

Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal hopes of becoming the only Indian to win the All England Championship ended in agony after she was defeated by Carolina Marin, in a summit clash in Birmingham on 8th March 2015. Saina was defeated by 21-16, 14-21, 7-21. By losing this title, the World No.3 failed to em Puella Gopichand, her long-time coach and Prakash Padukone, who won the prestigious titles in the past.

Saina’s dream of becoming the only Indian woman might be dashed but she insisted on taking with her the positives of the prestigious tournament. She believes it is her determination to do well and her consistency in the game that will provide the impetus she needs in her future matches. At the moment Saina is seeded No.3 but is hopeful of becoming No. 2 next week. She attained her career best of World No. 2 in December 2010.

Saina Nehwal has never lost to the Spaniard and looked on for an encore. She has been competing at the All England title since 2007. Nehwal started the game with supreme confidence. A 20-11 in the first set, Indians were ready to light the firecrackers to celebrate the win of this Hyderabadi girl who would soon join the ranks of legendary badminton players like Pullela Gopichand and Prakash Padukone, but Carolina decided to summon her superpowers.

When Nehwal was smashing it around, Marin got going with her overhead shots by striking the shuttle high in the air. From 20-11, Marin raised the tempo of the game and got aggressive. In little time, she narrowed the gap to 20-16. Pretty soon, Nehwal was forced to make errors. Marion leveled at 13-13 and raced past at 14-14 when Nehwal visibly looked troubled. Mentally, the Spaniard had chipped at the Indian’s confidence and assurance.

After the break, Nehwal lost steam and Carolina fought hard to bag eight out of the last nine points. She made it a one-sided contest and Saina could only watch her hopes going up in a wisp of smoke. Carolina scripted a remarkable comeback and put a full stop to the Indian’s hopes at the Barclaycard Avenue.

The All England Open Badminton Championships or All England title is one of the world’s oldest and illustrious badminton championships in the world. It is played annually. Initially, only three categories were staged – Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles were only added to the tournament later the following year. Yonex has been the official and the exclusive sponsor for the tournament since 1984.

The first Indian woman to reach the finals of All England title would be heartbroken and hurt by the defeat, however she has decided to move on and learn and improve from the entire experience. Probably it was the pressure of playing at the finals of the All England title that got to her, although she states that she got nervous and faltered. Yes, the squandering did cost her much, nevertheless, we wish her all the best and kudos for coming this far in Indian badminton and making us Indians proud of her.              

Prashant Thakkar (have 78 posts in total)

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