Tag Archives: Carolina Marin

Saina Nehwal Dedicates Padma Bhushan Award To Coach Vimal

Saina with U. Vimal Kumar. (Image Courtesy: www.seeandsay.in).

Saina with U. Vimal Kumar.
(Image Courtesy: www.seeandsay.in).

MUMBAI: India ace shuttler Saina Nehwal on Monday dedicated her Padma Bhushan award to coach U. Vimal Kumar under whose guidance she rose to the top of the world rankings.

It is noteable and remarkable that already the 25-year-old Saina has already been a recipient of the Arjuna Award (2009), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2010) and Padma Shri (2010).



U. Vimal kumar. (Image Courtesy: archive.deccanherald.com).

U. Vimal kumar.
(Image Courtesy: archive.deccanherald.com).

“I would like to thank the ministry for giving me Padma Bhushan. It is a great feeling, very honoured. I would like to dedicate the award to my coach U. Vimal Kumar sir totally. The way he has helped me in the last one year is great and made me become World No.1 and so many other achievements,” Saina said in a statement.

“Also, I would like to thank my parents, physio Sidhharth and trainer Deckline Leitao for supporting me so much,” the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist added.

Ahead of the 2014 Asian Games, Saina decided to move out of Pullela Gopichand Academy and switched her training base to Bengaluru under the guidance of Vimal. Her decision came after being laid low by a spate of injuries and a series of disappointing losses, including the 2014 BWF World Championships.

She started 2015 on a brilliant note by winning the India Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow, beating reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the final. She followed it up with her lone Superseries title, The India Open which she won after defeating the former world champion Ratchanok Intanon in the finals.

Saina also won the 2014 China Open title and in 2015, reached the finals of three prestigious events, All-England, World Championships and China Open.

Saina is one of India’s biggest hopes of winning a medal at the forthcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

Padma Bhushan is India’s third highest civilian award after Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan.

Lee Chong Wei Would Be Tough To Beat At Rio Olympics: Pullela Gopichand

P Gopichand.(Image Courtesy: indianexpress.com).

P Gopichand.
(Image Courtesy: indianexpress.com).

DELHI: Indian badminton team’s chief coach Pullela Gopichand is very impressed in the manner former world No 1 Lee Chong Wei has comeback after serving a doping ban and dubbed him as one of the toughest contenders for gold medal in this year’s Rio Olympics.

The 33-year-old star shuttler was handed out an eight-month ban in April last year for a doping violation after traces of a banned substance were found in his system.

However, he made a brilliant comeback into the international circuit with victories at the US Open, Canada Open, French Open, China Open and a silver at World Championships.

“He has been an amazing sportsperson. He has the highest quality fitness, concentration and a great ambassador of the sports. It’s unfortunate whatever happened to him but that created a window, wherein a few other players benefitted. He has always been strong. He had his problems against a few top players in the world (from China) but other than that, he has ruled the world badminton in the last few years,” Gopichand said.

“He will be someone who will be really difficult to beat because of his pure speed and sting in his strokes that makes him very very effective.”

“I have a great lot of respect for someone like Cheng Long. He is a fantastic individual, with whatever he has he maximizes it. He goes back and comes back very strongly in terms of his physical and mental preparations. So I wouldn’t rule out somebody like Cheng Long ever,” he said.

“Lin Dan is the big match player and Lee Chong Wei has always tripped at the last hurdle. So I think they have the experience and grit on their side and Lee has the desire to win the big match. All three make it difficult for other players. Both Cheng Long and Lin Dan are the players to beat and they are not going to give it easy to him.

“Conditions and preparations make a lot of difference. I think a fully fit and focused Lee is a handful to everybody. It is not going to be easy unless you are prepared to beat him because he has got that consistency where you really need to break him.”

Kidambi Srikanth.(Image Courtesy: httpwww.indiansportsnews.com).

Kidambi Srikanth.
(Image Courtesy: httpwww.indiansportsnews.com).

“I think it was a great match. Srikanth was fired up and aggressive but I think it is important that he has to be consistent. In the life of a sports person, I think a win is not the end of it or a loss is the end of it. So I think he just needs to get this head down and fight,” Gopichand said.

“I think the pressure here is far more because of the format, as there are a lot of people who are passionate, the coach, the owners and the money which is paid. So it makes it a lot of pressure and it is helpful to players,” he added.

India is likely to field its biggest ever badminton contingent at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and Gopichand said his wards will look at each tournament from now on as a preparation for the Games.

“I think it is a little premature to talk about Olympics at this point because the Olympic qualification is still on. There are quite a few big events and each player will go about preparing for those in a way as if that is the Olympics. Whether it is India Super Series, Asian Championship, All England. So they will really go after these tournaments.
“I have to ensure that they have the best progression for the Olympics,” he said.

Saina. (Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

(Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

The Chinese women players lost their dominance in world badminton in the last one year as Spain’s Carolina Marin and India’s Saina Nehwal achieved the World No. 1 and 2. Gopichand said the Chinese will find it difficult to regain that dominance as many players with varied styles have become more stronger.

“Whatever the Chinese have done have not worked and a lot of players have figured them out. So they have not been able to get a comprehensive strategy for everybody. Earlier, they used to win on fitness but now others have also become fitter and stronger.

“It won’t be easy to crack them because they are very diverse, one is from Japan, one from India, one from Spain so there are different styles. So they will find it difficult,” he said.

Asked if players are finding it difficult to match Carolina Marin’s speed, Gopichand said: “It is not difficult to match. I think when a player is winning, it feels like it is difficult to match. I think adaptability is the key. Our players also have the speed and it is about how they negate the speed. She for the moment seems good but we have also seen that she can be vulnerable,” Gopi signed off.

Gopi also praised veteran Dan and reminded how Lee always lost big finals to the champion Chinese.

Trump Matches Will Add To Excitement In PBL: Gopichand

PBL. (Image Courtesy: sportzwiki.com).

(Image Courtesy: sportzwiki.com).

MUMBAI: The introduction of trump matches in the upcoming Premier Badminton League (PBL) will add to the excitement level in the event that kicks off here on January 2 next year, said national team coach Pullela Gopichand.

“It’s a great addition to the league to ensure that the excitement remains till the end of the tie,” said Gopichand at the unveiling ceremony of the logo and team colours of the city’s PBL franchise, Mumbai Rockets.

Gopichand also explained how the trump match concept will add to the overall excitement of the six-team PBL.

Pullela Gopichand.(Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

Pullela Gopichand.
(Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

“Each team has to nominate a trump match from among five matches. Teams have to finalise their line-up one and a half hours before the tie. At that time they have to mention which will be their trump match,” said the national team coach.

“The winner of the trump match gains one extra point and the loser (who nominated it as its trump match) will lose one point. Two teams can nominate the same match as trump match. This ensures that the last two matches are also important in a tie.

“Even a 3-0 lead is not sufficient to win as you still can lose the tie. Spectators’ interest will be kept alive. It needs to be seen how the players react to the extra pressure. Some play better under pressure and some others crack,” he said.

Mumbai Rocket’s Canadian coach Ram Nayyar also quoted that the trump match could turn out to be the key and his players’ experience would stand it in good stead in this format.

“The introduction of trump matches is exciting. Our experience will be good in trump matches. But it depends on how well we perform in it,” he said.

Mumbai Rockets squad member and Indian world no. 20, H. S. Prannoy, said his team looked well-balanced on paper.

“Over the last two years I have been playing really well, along with Gurusaidutt. We both are in good form. We are a pretty balanced outfit. We have really good doubles players too,” said the 23-year-old who hails from Kerala.

Top Danish doubles player Mathias Boe felt it was important for the team to start well at its home base where it plays two games — against Awadh Warriors (January 2) and against Chennai Smashers (January 3).

“Our team is really strong. If we can start off well in the first two matches at home we can gain confidence for the other matches,” said the 35-year-old who is currently world no. 4 in men’s doubles.

Apart from Prannoy, Guru and Boe, the Mumbai Rockets squad is made up of Han Li, Liu Zi Die (both China), Ruthvika Gadde (India) to play in women’s singles, Vladimir Ivanov (Russia), Manu Attri (India), Chayut Triyachart (Thailand) in men’s/mixed doubles and Kamilla Juhl (Denmark) in women’s/mixed doubles.

Gopichand maintained that all the teams appeared well-balanced.

“I am personally excited with PBL. All the teams look very strong on paper and it’s going to be a challenge to predict the winner. Teams are well-balanced. I am expecting a lot of fireworks.

“The league actually helps a lot of young and aspiring players to compete against the big names in the world. It’s exciting for the crowd too,” he added.

“The way I look at it today, with whatever challenges we have had to face, the players we have is fantastic. We have players like Lee Chong Wei, Boe, Ivanov, Joachim Fischer.

“Yes, we did not have it for one year, but at least we have it now and hopefully it will continue. During the last edition players like Srikanth were coming up. Actually they came to prominence in IBL. This time they are at a stage when people are looking up to them. They have to deliver, it’s almost the maturing of a player. We will see how it happens.

“All said and done the pressure is more when playing against a foreign or fellow-Indian player in India. You will be scrutinized much more and actually it makes players mature faster,” he said.

“Carolina was there last year, but did not even play all matches. Yes her stature is at a higher level now. She will be missed, but the level is still very high which makes it definitely exciting. Yes, I would definitely love to have more players but it does not make it any less (attractive),” he said.

“Even though it’s an Olympic year (2016), players had shown a great amount of commitment to play. Many of them have rescheduled their existing matches and that’s very encouraging. It’s the year-end and some of them have really gone out of their way. I believe so (because of the good experience during the last edition).”

Saina To Start Practice From Next Week In Bengaluru

Saina Nehwal. (Image Courtesy: www.mid-day.com).

Saina Nehwal.
(Image Courtesy: www.mid-day.com).

BENGALURU: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal is set to return to practice here from next week after recovering from an ankle injury (Anchillus Tendon), her father Harvir Singh said.

“Saina will, in all probability, start her practice in Bengaluru from next week. For now, she is undergoing treatment for her ankle injury at our hometown, Hyderabad. She is fast recovering, there’s nothing to worry,” Singh said.
The Hyderabadi girl had suffered an ankle injury last month which forced her to skip the Hong Kong Open and also posed a serious question-mark on her performance at the season-ending BWF Super Series Finals.

Singh said Saina has had a very good year as she was runners up in three tournaments viz., the All England Championship, the World Championship and the China Open. But because of her injuries, her chances of winning more titles were affected.

“Badminton is the fastest game on the planet, and hence a player’s success depends on swift and fast movements, but if you have pain while moving to and fro, it affects the game,” Singh said.
Singh said though she lost some of the important tournaments this year, Saina had beaten World No. 1 Carolina Marin.

Asked whether it would be advisable for Saina to participate in the Second Edition of Premier Badminton League (PBL) next month even as she recovers from injury, Singh said, “It is left to Saina to decide on it. She knows much better than anyone else.”

Saina Squad, A Fruitful Venture For Saina In Tournaments!


DUBAI: The ‘Saina Squad’ provided the expected vocal support from the auduence chairs inspiring Saian to come up with a spectacular performance on the recently concluded BWF Super Super Series Finals at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai.

Saina. (Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

(Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

Saina, need the much needed support from the selected “Saina squad” to down the world No. 1 on the second day and admitted for registering one of her most memorable victories of her career, defeating Marin in the league rounds

Although, Saina could not live up to the expectations and bowed out of the competition with her second defeat in three league matches on Friday.

“It was great to get a massive support from the fans and that too outside India. I am really thankful to the ‘Saina Squad’ members as they constantly encouraged me during my match against Carolina. The huge cheering pumped me up and suddenly I got that extra energy. I am not fully fit now but that emotional cheering really charged me up and I came up with an extraordinary win, surprising everybody, including myself,” Saina told TOI after she overcame her nemesis in three games.

In individual sports, ‘Saina Squad’ has perhaps set the new trend as a group of 20 fans travelled to Dubai to cheer the shuttler. The idea of forming ‘Saina Squad’ came after the Indian lost a close final against Marin in the last World Championship in Indonesia. Marin supporters in the stands were so loud and aggressive that it helped her win a hard-fought match. Star Sports took the initiative and launched a massive campaign in India after which they finalized 20 most passionate followers of Saina.

“It is always nice to get such support. The cheering by Indian fans is sometimes crazy but I like that. I thought Carolina made some unforced errors as she did not expect such a round of applause for me. She normally doesn’t commit those mistakes. It worked well for me in this tournament. I just hope this bunch accompanies me whenever I go,” said Saina.

Saina Nehwal Crashes Out Of The BWF Superseries Finals


DUBAI: India’s challenge ended at the BWF Superseries Finals after Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth lost their respective women’s and men’s singles matches on Friday in the progressing BWF-Superseries Finals at the Hamdan Sports Complex, here in Dubai.

Saina. (Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

(Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

Having won one match and lost one match on her cards, Saina had to win her final league match against Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan but she went down after winning the first game but, could not make it and bowed out of the tournament 21-16, 18-21, 14-21 that lasted 50 minutes.
Okuhara, having won all three matches, emerged on top of Group A in the women’s Singles category, while Marin is the second best. in the group.

Saina had everything to play as she showed determination in the match, but unfortunately could not maintain the tempo till the end.

The opening game was a closely-fought affair. Although Saina opened up a 3-1 lead, her rival kept breathing down her neck to catch her up first at 5-5 and then at 9-9 before the Indian went into the break with a slender 11-9 edge. From here Saina used her net play and smashes effectively, which was sidelined by her opponent’s unforced errors. When Saina was in the game point 13-21 Tzu Ying saved three match points, but Saina maintained her composure to seal the opening game with a cross court smash to run away with the game 21-16.

In the second game, Saina owing to a number of unforced errors was behind Tai at 5-11 at the brea and Tai moved up to 13-5. But Saina fought her way back and won four points to reduce the points gap to 9-13 and then another four points to further lessen the margin to 14-16 before equalling at 16-16. Tzu Ying was also frequently hitting the shuttle on the net.

However, the Taipei girl kept her nerves intact to secure three consecutive points to once again take a 20-16 lead. Saina saved two game points, but Tzu Ying bagged that one important point to take the match to the decider.

Saina completely ran out of steam in third game. Tzu Ying started the third game with a 4-1 lead and then continued to surge ahead to 17-9 before wrapping it up rather comfortably in the end.

With Saina losing two out of three matches, Carolina Marin and Nozomi Okuhara have advanced to the next round.

BWF-Dubai World Superseries Finals 2015, Dubai – UAE


Round Robin Round (11-Dec-2015):

Men’s Singles:

  1. Kidambi Srikanth [9] lost to CHOU Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-17, 21-13.

Women’s Singles:

  1. Saina Nehwal [2] lost to TAI Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 16-21, 21-18, 21-14.

Round Robin Round (10-Dec-2015):

Men’s Singles:

  1. Srikanth [9] lost to Victor Axelsen of Denmark 21-13, 21-18.

Women’s Singles:

Saina.(Image Courtesy: http:// timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

(Image Courtesy: http:// timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

  1. Saina Nahwal [2] Defeated Carolina Marin of Spain 23-21, 9-21, 21-12.

Round Robin Round (09-Dec-2015):

Men’s Singles:

  1. Srikanth [9] lost to Kento Momota of Japan 21-13, 21-13.

Women’s Singles:

  1. Saina Nehwal [2] lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-14, 21-6.

List Of Participants:

Men’s Singles – Group B:

Kidambi Srikanth. (Image Courtesy: results.glasgow2014.com).

Kidambi Srikanth.
(Image Courtesy: results.glasgow2014.com).

  1. Kidambi Srikanth [9].

Women’s Singles – Group A:

Saina-Nehwal (www.topnews.in)__1

  1. Saina Nehwal [2].

About the Tournament:

Tournament Name: BWF-Dubai World Superseries Finals 2015.

Tournament Dates: 09-Dec-2015 to 13-Dec-2015.

Category: Superseries Finals.

Events: MS, WS, MD, WD, XD

Venue: Hamdan Sports Complex.

City: Dubai.

Country: United Arab Emirates.

Prize Money: Not Available.

BWF Superseries Finals: Saina Wins Against Carolina Marin


DUBAI: Saina Nehwal turned the table over the current reigning world champion Carolina Marin at the BWF Superseries Finals, here in Dubai on Thursday, even as Kidambi Srikanth faced exit after suffering his second straight loss in the men’s singles here on Thursday.

Saina.(Image Courtesy: http:// timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

(Image Courtesy: http:// timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

Saina defeated Crolina to notch up a memorable 23-21, 9-21, 21-12 win over the World No. 1 in a women’s singles match that lasted an hour and 15 minutes.

In the opening game, Saina led 9-4 but she misjudged a couple of shots and Marin too stepped up the pressure by dominating the net to grab the lead with six straight points. However, Saina ensured she had the advantage at the break.

Marin tried to keep the shuttle at the forecourt by drawing Saina close to the net and marched ahead to 15-12. Saina fought back and closed the gap and even went ahead at 16-15 when the Spaniard hit the net. Saina reached 19-16 with Marin continuing to make some unforced errors,.

Marin then drew level at 19-19 before Saina earned the game point with Marin hitting the bird in the net. But a couple of wayward shots and it was 21-20 in favour of Marin. However, another forehand return hitting the net and a wide shot by Marin again gave the game point to Saina who made it count for her this time.

The second game started on an aggressive note with the duo battling like warriors. Saina kept her poise and even smiled at her mistakes while pumping her fist after winning crucial points. Marin then entered the interval with a five point advantage.

Saina tried to slow down the pace of the rallies after the break but Marin continued to dominate by playing her acute angled strokes. The Indian also faltered with a few unforced errors to allow Marin to gallop away with the second game.

The decider started on an aggressive note again as once again when Saina moved to a 10-5 lead at one stage before Marin reduced it down to 8-11.

Durin Interval, Saina was 11-8 lead at the interval.

Marin continued to her unforced, which Sain capitalized and extended her lead to 16-8. A couple of angled smashes took Saina to 19-9. Marin scored three valuable points here, then but Saina moved into the match point when Marin hit wide and closed the match.

Saina will play against the defending champion Tai Tzu Ying in her final league match on Friday.

Nehwal Facing Super Series Finals Exit


DUBAI: Saina Nehwal, looks certain to depart early from the Super Series finals in Dubai.

Nehwal lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-14, 21-6.

Saina.(Image Courtesy: www.thenational.ae).

(Image Courtesy: www.thenational.ae).

Nehwal admitted she has not been able to train since injuring an Achilles tendon three weeks ago, and her movement was just not light enough or enduring enough against Okuhara who, as she said, “gets everything back”.

Saina is is featuring in the group containing Carolina Marin of Spain, and the title holder Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan.

Both of them look in decent shape, and both of them she would probably have to beat to be able to qualify for the semi-finals.

“I’m not putting myself under any pressure to win these,” she said.
“It’s going to be very, very, very tough.”

Earlier, in the tournament Marin fought back from behind in the first game before winning it 21-16, 21-9 over Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying.

“They were too slow,” Marin explained. “I had to get the speed changed and that made a difference.”

The other women’s winners were Wang Yihan, the former world champion, who won in three games against Wang Shixian.

Ratchanok, who saved four match points 19-21, 23-21, 21-14 and claimed victory over Sung Ji-Hyun, the world number four from South Korea.

Three of them came in a row from 17-20 in the second game.

“I just tried not to think too much,” Intanon said, when asked how she coped with the crises. “That’s what I do in training. I don’t think then.”

Saina Nominated For The Women Player Of The Year Award By BWF


Saina-Nehwal (www.topnews.in)__1Saina Nehwal has been nominated for the Woman Player of the Year Award for the year 2015 by the BWF as Nehwal had a good run this year and also having gained the no.1 spot for a brief time.

Saina, a former World No. 1, who is currently ranked no.2 in the world, will be competing for this award with other top-ranked stars like Carolina Marin of Spain, 2014 winner Zhao Yunlei of China and Bao Yixin.
Saina’s consistent run includes reaching the finals of the BWF World Championships, the All England Open, and the Thaihot China Open. She also won the home leg of the World Superseries tour in Delhi.

The world number one Carolina Marin of Spain has had a perfect run, though, throughout the year. She won the All England Championship in March and the Hong Kong Open in November. She also clinched three World Superseries titles and also defended her World Championship title.

Zhao was the premier woman doubles player of the year, also winning six Mixed Doubles Superseries. She won eight Superseries titles in 2015, which includes two World Championships – in the Women’s Doubles and the Mixed Doubles category and the Japan and Hong Kong open titles in Women’s Doubles category.

Bao Yixin has been an all-round performer, winning the Mixed Doubles title at the All England Open and the India Open. She also reached the finals of the World Championships, the Australia Open and the Hong Kong Open.

The winners of the award will be announced at the Gala Dinner and the player’s reception at the Dubai World Superseries Finals on December 7 2015.