Elated Saina dedicates Padma award to coach Vimal

Elated Saina dedicates Padma award to coach Vimal

Elated Saina dedicates Padma award to coach Vimal

It was only last year that Saina Nehwal expressed her displeasure at not being considered for the Padma Bhushan but the World No 2 badminton player will be conferred with the third highest civilian honour of the country after she was chosen for the award on Monday.

Saina, who previously has won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award and Padma Shri, expressed her delight. “It is really a great honour for me to be receiving such a prestigious award at such a young age. At the same time, it has been a really good year for me professionally and I am glad that it has been recognised by the ministry.”

While it has been a year of highs and lows for Saina owing to various injuries, she continued to work tirelessly and even reached World No 1 in the singles rankings.

“There will be a few disappointments that players will face and even I did but then I took it in my stride. I just decided to work hard and things eventually got better.”

Saina shifted her base to Bengaluru from Hyderabad in 2014 October and her form has peaked ever since. The 25-year-old laid great emphasis on the training techniques of her coach Vimal Kumar and also how moving to the city has helped.

“I was World No 9 when I moved here and did not really have any great expectations, to be honest. But the belief that Vimal sir had in me motivated me and made me work that much harder. I would like to dedicate this award to him because he was the major reason for all the success I have had in the last year.”

While her parents have su­pported and encouraged her throughout her playing care­er, the reactions she received from them were contrasting.

“My parents have always been a great support for me. After receiving the news, dad was very happy and proud. On the other hand, mum was happy but asked me to put all this aside and continue woking hard,” said Saina on a lighter note.

Receiving such a high honour at such a young age could prove a distraction to many but Saina insisted that as sportsperson, the next tournament is what should matter.

“Every sportsperson dreams of achievements like this but you must accept it, and continue to focus on your career. I will definitely cherish this award and at the same time there is a lot more to achieve and I hope I can do that for my country.”
DH News Service

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