Saina climbs to the top again

Saina climbs to the top again

Following her silver-medal winning feat at the World Championships, Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal regained her No 1 World ranking in women singles on Thursday.

Saina, who became the first Indian to win a silver medal at the recently concluded World Championships, replaced Spanish sensation Carolina Marin from the top spot. Marin had beaten Saina in the final at Jakarta.

The Spaniard being the defending world champion was also defending her points and totalled 80,612 points. Meanwhile Saina, who had exited from the quarterfinal stage last year, gained 3,600 points for reaching the final to tally 82,792 points for the top spot. The Hyderabadi had first claimed the top spot in April this year and was at the top for five weeks though not at a stretch.

“I am very happy to be World number 1 again. I would like to thank my coach Vimal Kumar sir and my parents for the support,” tweeted an excited Saina, who was already back to the hard stretches of training in Bengaluru on Thursday to prepare for the back-to-back Japan Open (September 8-13) and Korea Open (September 15-20).

Inks new deal

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old also signed a two-year exclusive management deal with Sports Management group IOS Sports & Entertainment.

“The IOS will target around Rs 25 crore over two years depending upon her performance in Rio Olympics and her stability to maintain world number one ranking,” the Sports management firm said in a statement on Thursday.

Following this deal, IOS will manage Olympic medallist Saina’s endorsements, appearances, brand profiling, patents, licensing and digital rights, images and her visibility on social networking sites.

Neerav Tomar, MD & CEO IOS Sports & Entertainment said the brand value of Saina is untapped and promised to make the most of the opportunity they had received from this deal.

“She is an international brand now and badminton is followed across the globe. Her brand value has only risen after winning silver medal in the World Championship and now regaining the world number one spot,” he said.

IOS recently signed cricketer Suresh Raina. It also manages Olympic medallist boxers Mary Kom, Vijender Singh and double Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar.

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