‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them’ Walt Disney.
Yes, we all dream, we all aspire, but why is it that only some of us can make our dreams come true? Why is it that most of us cannot get where we want to, and our dreams end up being only dreams? The answer is simple. It is because we do not have the courage to pursue them, to make them come true.
Dreaming is easy; their realization is difficult because that needs dedication, determination, and devotion. And that isn’t something that most people have. However, some people make their dreams come true no matter what. They don’t let anything come between them and their aspirations. And Saina Nehwal is one such person, one such woman, who has reached where she wanted to.
In a world where men try and rule the roost, Saina has smashed all stereotypes and won her country the biggest achievements in the sport of badminton.
Born in 1990 in the Hissar district of Haryana, Saina is the of the two daughters of Harvir Singh and Usha Rani. She spent her early childhood in Haryana. The family moved to Hyderabad once her father got transferred there, which is where she grew up. Being in a new city where she didn’t know the language, Saina took to playing badminton when she was very young. That was her way of getting to know other kids. But life had something else in store for her. While she was trying to discover friends, she and her talent got discovered by a coach at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh. He got in touch with her parents, and the rest, as they say, is history. There was no stopping her after that. She went on to win several laurels for herself and her country, with her parents supporting her all the way. And her greatest accomplishment was when she became the World No. 1 in 2015.
There is a lot that people know about her; it is common knowledge. But there are many aspects to her personality that a lot of people don’t know; a few interesting but relatively unknown facts about her.
1. Saina Nehwal – Daughter of Badminton Champions
Saina got badminton in her genes, and that’s probably why she aced the game. Both her parents, Harvir Singh and Usha Rani, were State champions in badminton. And it was because of this reason that her father wanted her to excel in the sport. Therefore he left no stone unturned to support her in every possible way. He used the money from his provident fund to ensure that she was trained at the best possible places. And when required, he even borrowed money. That support ensured that she could get trained at world-class facilities like the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad and the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru.
Sport is something that comes naturally to everyone in the family. Her elder sister was a well-known volleyball player.
2. Saina Nehwal Awards and Medals
Though India has had well-known sportswomen, Saina has been the most successful.
She has been winning awards and laurels since 2006, when she was not even nineteen years old. And after that, she decided never to stop. She has been awarded honours like Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, awarded to players who have made an exceptional contribution to sports in India. All are best awards of Sania Nehwal.
She was the first Indian woman to win Olympic medal in badminton. Other than that, she has also claimed several titles in the International badminton arena during her career. She has been the youngest Asian player to win the Philippines Open and also became the first woman in the badminton world to win the Asian Satellite Badminton tournament twice. In her 12-year-long badminton career, Saina Nehwal has won over 24 international titles, eleven of which are Superseries titles. She is also the only Indian to have won at least one medal in every BWF major-the World Championships, the World Junior Championships – and that most precious bronze medal at the Olympics.
3. A Multitalented Sports Person
Usually, when we think of a sports person, we assume they are good at that particular sport, and that’s is, but that’s not true of Saina. Before she became a badminton champion, she used to be a professional karate player. And there also, she was the recipient of several awards and honours at the national level. If that wasn’t enough, another interesting fact is that she is a brown belt in karate. So opponents beware!!
4. Saina – The Icecream Girl
As revealed by her during one of her interviews, Saina loves icecreams. But she can’t have them as often as she would like to as she has to maintain her fitness. Therefore she treats herself to one after winning a match on the badminton court. A sweet reward for a sweet victory!!
5. Saina’s Life Partner… A Badminton Player
No surprises here. Saina met her future husband while pursuing her favourite sport. The common interest probably got them together, and the two started dating each other. Saina and Parupalli Kashyap played together many times and even got coached by the same coach, the well-known Pullela Gopichand. Though in a relationship for almost a decade, they managed to keep it under wraps. Finally, they tied the knot in 2018.
6. Bollywood Connection
Saina Nehwal is a great movie buff and what a lot of people don’t know is that she is a big fan of Sharukh Khan. This fact came to light when she met the Great Khan during a ceremony that was organized to honour Saina for her Olympic gold medal achievement. Sharukh Khan had been invited to do the honours, and at her request, he agreed to perform for her. Much to her delight, he enacted a scene from his famous movie “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” for her.
And now she herself has joined the bandwagon. A biopic named Saina, which is based on her life, was released in 2021 and had Parineeti Chopra playing the title role.
7. Saina Nehwal Inspires
Saina Nehwal Olympic Medal winner wrote her autobiography, Playing to Win, My life On and Of Court, in 2012 to inspire people to develop an interest in sports. As she reveals in the book, two things that make her unique are ‘hard work and discipline.’
Also Read: Women Achievers of Indian Origin
Her message to the youth is to have self-belief and discipline to excel in their chosen field. She believes that women are not inferior to men and they can do what men can do.
She also believes that young girls should be who they are and do what they like without ever selling themselves short.
She is indeed a great source of inspiration for young girls in India and all over the world. She has proved that if you aim for the stars, there is nothing that can come in your way.
In r their desire to give back to society, Saina Nehwal and her husband have decided to open a badminton academy to provide high-quality training to aspiring badminton players.
So that’s a champion, a woman achiever.