Saina stumbles at final hurdle, settles for silver

Last Updated : 16 August 2015, 20:39 IST

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Saina Nehwal notched the best-ever finish by an Indian in the Badminton World Championships on Sunday, winning the silver medal after her golden ambitions were dashed by Spain’s Carolina Marin.

Marin, the world number one, defeated Saina 21-16, 21-19 in the women’s singles final in Jakarta for her second world title. The Indian champion, after a tremendous run to the final, couldn’t summon the energy or resources to tackle the Spaniard.

Marin kept Saina on a tight leash. The Indian also committed a clutch of errors, unable to find the consistency that was essential in the big match. After losing the first game, the Indian nosed ahead in the second, raising visions of a revival but a couple of crucial errors from her part allowed Marin to sneak in and forge ahead to script a memorable win.

Saina’s medal is the fifth India has achieved at the prestigious event that began in 1977. P V Sindhu had clinched the bronze medal twice in 2013 and 2014 while the women’ doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won the bronze in 2011. Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a medal, a bronze, at the Worlds in the 1983 edition in Copenhagen.

Back home, celebrations had to be put on hold even though her silver success triggered some joy in the sporting circles, with former players and team-mates tweeting congratulatory messages.

Saina’s father Harvir Singh felt the pressure of playing in her maiden World Championships final could have affected her.

“I believe it was a psychological factor, she might have lost her concentration thinking she had to win,” Harvir told reporters in Hyderabad.

He added, “It’s marvellous (Saina winning the silver). Saina tried her best but Marin is a little stronger. There is still a lot of badminton left in Saina and she will surely come back stronger. She needs to learn more skills and stay fit.”

Published 16 August 2015, 20:39 IST

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