'The hard work has paid off'

'The hard work has paid off'

'The hard work has paid off'

Saina Nehwal’s father was shocked when she told him that she wanted to discontinue her studies and chase her dream — badminton.

Nehwal senior and his wife asked their daughter to give it a second thought. Saina was firm. Realising that badminton is where their daughter's heart was, Saina’s parents encouraged her to plunge headlong into her love.

And today, after winning the first Olympic medal for badminton, Saina says she owes it all to her parents.

“I’ve never felt more confident and I owe it to my parents, without whom I couldn’t have got this far,” she tells Metrolife with a twinkle in her eyes.

Saina has always been an icon for the young people but she says that she has had to brave many injuries — mentally and physically — to get this far.

 “There were times when I’ve wailed in pain but I’ve dragged myself forward. Nothing kept me from working hard towards my goal. And after my Olympic win, I’ve noticed that a lot of young people have begun to evince an interest in pursuing badminton,” she observes.

Saina is aware that she has been an inspiration to a lot of young people, “I will do everything I can to encourage young players. In fact, I plan to start an academy for badminton,” she shares.

Even after all the attention she’s been getting, Saina remains grounded. “The medal brought back so many memories of how I would, as a young girl, lose so many badminton rackets; but still, my father would always buy me another one without complaining,” she recollects and adds, “People will only look at the winning bit but I would say that so many years of untiring work has paid off.”

Saina has been gifted a posh flat in the City in recognition of her achievement and is thrilled that she now has a home in Bangalore.

“I will now visit the City more often. I always loved Bangalore and its people for their warmth,” she wraps up.