The 33-year-old spoke to table tennis player Mudit Dani in an Instagram live session.
Badminton has gained prominence in India over the last decade or so with a select few shuttlers making their mark on the international scene. Many reasons could be cited for its steady growth but it wouldn’t be unfair to state that Saina Nehwal has played a colossal role in the process.
Parupalli Kashyap, a renowned badminton player himself and Saina Nehwal’s husband, also believes that through her performances she filled the others with belief that they too could take on the world’s best players and prevail in these contests.
“Saina has always been a huge motivating factor. Her achievements, her results, initially changed the mindset of all the badminton players at that point in time. She is the one who started it. Performing consistently at the international level. Beating the Chinese players, which was in the impossible zone at that time,” remarked Parupalli Kashyap.
Saina Nehwal is one of the most successful Indian shuttlers with 24 International titles to her name and also attained the World No.1 ranking back in 2015. Moreover, the esteemed shuttler won the bronze medal for her nation at the 2012 London Olympics, which was India’s first medal in the sport at the marquee event.
During her memorable run at the London Olympic Games, she secured impressive victories against Yao Jie and then two-time All England Open Badminton Championship winner, Tine Baun in the knock-out stages. Her convincing win against Baun who was such a formidable opponent at that time will result in it going down as one of her most remarkable performances according to Kashyap.
He reasoned, “People forget about this and just talk about the bronze medal match, but you should see whom she has beaten. That Danish girl (Baun) was as good as anyone in the tournament and she could have easily upset Li Xuerui and won gold. Six months down the line, Baun won the All England Championship and retired immediately after that. So, it was a huge win.”
Unfortunately, Saina Nehwal suffered a loss in the semi-final game against Wang Yihan but had no time to delve on that disappointment as she squared up against China’s Wang Xin in the clash for the bronze medal. A knee-injury to Wang Xin in the deciding contest ended up resulting in Saina being awarded the win and subsequently the elusive Olympic medal.
Kashyap revealed that the way things had panned out was a bit difficult to process for the three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist at first but eventually she was elated after accomplishing a truly historic feat.
“It was huge. Her podium ceremony was very emotional. Her feelings after the bronze medal match and the way it ended was of confusion but at the same time, she made it and she won the medal,” Parupalli Kashyap concluded.