Fitness and endurance will be the key factors in the forthcoming London Olympics, according to Saina Nehwal, India’s brightest medal prospect. After her spectacular success at the Indonesian Super Series Premier tournament where she beat the might of the Chinese, the badminton star said she is ready for the Olympics.
On her preparation for the big event
There is no pressure. It is Olympics and I’m not thinking over. I will take it as another tournament and focus on my game. I would not think it as Olympics or big dream. Eat well, play well and sleep well and everything will fall in place. I just hope the training goes off nicely in the next two weeks. I have been working on all the areas. But we are laying emphasis on fitness and endurance as the courts at Wembley are bit on slower side. On faster courts, you can attack a lot while on slower surface, we have to run a lot and play a lot of strokes.
On Beijing Games and London Olympics
Beijing was my first Olympics. I always believed I would play in Olympics. I was very happy I could play. But now, it is a bit different scenario. I’m 22 and have experience on my side. But it is important that I perform there well and fulfill the nation’s dream.
On patience and mental preparation
Patience is very vital in any big event, particularly in Olympics. We have to be mentally very strong otherwise that could be the weak point. I have ensured that I worked very hard on these two areas which are very important in the long run.
On psychological edge over China
The Chinese are always strong. They come with new plans and they always have a surprise element in every Olympics. I will also be worried on their new strategies and be ready for the challenges. So, we have to prepare and plan our game accordingly. I had a wonderful time at the Indonesian Super Series and won my matches against Shixian (Wang) and Li Xuerui. But Olympics will be a new tournament and we have to start from the first round.
On Indian players and choke tag
It is not like the past when we used to choke in big matches or in crucial stages of the matches. But it is different now. We are showing that we have the talent and the ability to win matches. Actually speaking, Indians are the most talented players in the world. However, lack of facilities and proper planning have seen the players under performing.
On being a medal contender
It is a proud feeling that I’m one of the medal contenders for India at London Games. I’m seeded fourth. I have done my training. I have done whatever I could do and it is up to the luck factor. Winning or losing is always as a top player can have a bad day.
On Gopichand and his role
Whatever I’m today, Gopi Sir should take part of the credit. I don’t think any coach will enter the court and play with the players. He plays the games with us with full intensity. He motivates and corrects us. He totally dedicates to the game and is expecting us fetch medals for the country.
On physio Kiran
He is very good and takes care of physical training. We need good physios while playing at the highest level. He has ensured that we are injury-free.