Commonwealth gold is right next to my Olympic bronze: Saina Nehwal

An exhausted mind, a bruised body and an unsavoury controversy -- Saina Nehwal had to contend with quite a bit ahead of and during the Commonwealth Games.

Published: 15th April 2018 01:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2018 01:01 PM   |  A+A-

Saina Nehwal celebrates her victory over her India's Venkata Pusarla in their badminton women's single final match at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on April 15, 2018. Saeed KHAN / AFP

By PTI

GOLD COAST: An exhausted mind, a bruised body and an unsavoury controversy -- Saina Nehwal had to contend with quite a bit ahead of and during the Commonwealth Games.

Little wonder then that she placed her singles gold in the event right up there with the trail-blazing Olympic bronze of 2012.

"I really term it as next to my Olympic medal and my world No.1 ranking. So I would keep it somewhere there. It's a gift to my father and my mother, my country. It's a very emotional moment for me after the disappointing loss in Rio due to injury," second seed Saina said after a straight-game but draining victory over top seed and compatriot P V Sindhu in the final here.

Saina played all the matches in the mixed team championship before competing in the individual event.

Asked how her legs were holding up after continuous competition, Saina quipped: "They are dead.

" Saina had a 3-1 head-to-head lead over Sindhu going into today's match and she ensured that the gap widened with a vintage performance.

"It was a neck to neck game for me, it was even tougher because I have been playing for the last 10-12 days.

She is tall, she has longer legs and covers the court better than me, I have to run here and there," Saina said of her rival and teammate.

"I lost five kgs in the last few months, that helps you move faster," she added.

It was a perfect end to what was an imperfect start when her accreditated father did not gain access to the Games village.

She threatened to pull out if he wasn't accommodated, which he eventually was, but she drew criticism for her stand.

Then there were the niggles, which got aggravated during the team competition.

"The shin problem happened in the team event and I am playing with that," she revealed when asked about the bandage she was sporting even though it hardly impacted her execution of shots.

"It is not much of a problem, just two-three days of recovery is required.

My match against Kirsty Gilmour went on for a long while and probably I aggravated the problem a bit," she said.

Asked if playing against Sindhu in a big final like today was more of a mental battle than anything else, Saina kept it simple.

"You just have to play your game, it's a healthy rivalry, people enjoy it, no doubt we are under tremendous pressure. But I am happy to be pulling these off. It's not easy to play against someone who is ranked No.3 in the world now," she said.

"It's a challenging match for me. I would like to thank Gopi sir for pushing me in the last three four months and Christopher, my physio, who is working hard on my body.

I was facing a lot of injuries on my shin, ankle and he came up and gave me a very good rehab program which is helping my leg strength," she said.

Even though she claimed the gold with a brilliant performance, Saina said she was not in a particularly good shape.

"The rallies were going long, she was picking up all the shots well. I am happy that I could pull off the bigger rallies. I have never played two weeks back to back so definitely it is one of my most exhausting campaigns," she said.

It was yet another final loss for Sindhu, who is now being criticised for not being able to pull off high-pressure games.

However, Saina defended her teammate.

"It happens in tough situations, it has happened with me as well. You can't write like that about any player. Today, I fought well. I didn't attack much because my stamina was finishing. I just wanted to finish off rallies. She was doing very well in rallies too," she said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Commonwealth Games 2018 news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

FIFA-World-Cup-2018