'In no hurry for Rio quest'

'In no hurry for Rio quest'

The Rio Olympics next year might be her big goal but Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal stressed on Wednesday that she is currently focusing on one tournament at a time and there will be no hurry in her preparations for the quadrennial event.

“It is very early to talk about the Olympics. I want to focus on the upcoming tournaments. There is Denmark Open coming up followed by the French Open.
The major goal, certainly, is to be fully prepared for the Olympics but for now, I intend to do well in these competitions and keep my confidence high,” she said on the sidelines of the Midnight Marathon launch here.

Saina regained the world No 1 status in August following her silver medal at the World Championships in Jakarta. She admitted it is a huge responsibility to be at the top. “It is not very easy to be at your best in a game like badminton. There is a lot of pressure being world No 1. Every day is a challenge. I want to reach as many finals as possible in the coming days and be consistent.”

Saina said a leg injury had hampered her at last month’s Japan Open, where she was ousted by the unseeded local girl Minatsu Mitani. “I suffered an injury in my leg at the World Championships and I took some time to recover. It affected my performance in Japan but I am fully fit now and I want to make sure I remain injury-free,” said the 25-year-old.

Spain’s Carolina Marin has been Saina’s fierce rival in the recent times, having got the better of the Indian in the finals of two major tournaments –– the All England and the Worlds, this year. The Hyderabadi acknowledged she is happy with the healthy competition and praised the emergence of good players from Spain and Thailand.

“It’s a good sign that there excellent players making a mark from countries other than China. At the same time, the Chinese players cannot be underestimated. We need to be on our toes all the time to get favourable results.”

Aiming to impress in the second edition of the Indian Badminton League next year, Saina felt apart from giving exposure to talented players through such tournaments, better training facilities at the grass-root level will help the country produce good players. “There are very few good badminton training centres in the country. Lot more support should go towards building better academies.”

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