The Iron Lady of India – Saina Nehwal

“I am working hard and performances are coming. Now that I am number 2, I will definitely reach number 1.”
What is it about Saina Nehwal that makes you believe that sooner than later, this feat, which was once thought impossible will be achieved by the young inspiring female athlete from Hyderabad, India.
She is not only the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton for India but she is also the top ranked player (women) in Indian Badminton history.She is also the highest paid non-cricketing sportsperson in India. There are many more records under her belt and she is just 22 right now.
So what is it that stands out in the case of Saina Nehwal? The biggest quality is the self -belief she has in her game, work ethic and coaching staff. It is this self-belief which has led her to penetrate the once considered invincible Chinese army in women’s badminton. She is one of the mentally strong females out there and this lack of fear of anyone has led her to achieve the rising heights in her field.
Saina won the bronze in the London Olympics, 2012
Saina won the bronze in the London Olympics, 2012
She recently said in her autobiography that she never thinks that she is up against a formidable Korean or Chinese. Whenever she plays them, she keeps reminding herself of the fact that she has defeated seniors who were 23-24 when she was just 13.
This lack of fear is what has enabled her to penetrate the Chinese territory and make herself a reckoning force in badminton today. If we look deep in the history of sports all over the world, it is this self- belief and lack of fear towards the best that has made them the champions in the world.
Be it Novak Djokovic who famously said in 2007 that he can beat Fedal or Saurav Ganguly who challenged the traditional politeness prevalent in the Indian Cricket team by his aggressive captaincy – one can find innumerable examples of champions who have believed in themselves and have reiterated that they can defeat the best of best in the game.
But the big question is how does this self-belief come? Is it just born in a single day or is it inherent? I believe that it is neither of those. It comes after one toils hard, day in and out overcoming daily obstacles to achieve their goal and to see those small improvements day by day. It comes when one has a strong work ethic and passion to get themselves up even after the many failures encountered.
One can listen to Saina Nehwal’s interviews or what her coach Pullela Gopichand has to say off his obedient student, you will be amazed to find that she has never missed a practice session or tried to take a short cut in her trainings. Her day starts off at 6 AM and she know that following the work ethic holds the key for achieving her goals. Even after her heart crushing loss in quarterfinals in 2008 Beijing Olympics, when she was asked to report for practice the following day by Gopichand at 6 AM, all she requested was “Can we start at seven instead of six”? (Taken from the book – Saina Nehwal: An Inspirational Biography by Sudhir T S).
Saina Nehwal is currently ranked World No.2
Saina Nehwal is currently ranked World No.2
When I first read this, I wondered how such a thing was possible. She just came back from a devastating loss and it would have been ok to take a break for some time. Not many can sum up the courage to work the following day after a loss, determined to make sure the next time, they are successful. And in Saina’s case, it was exactly 4 years after: she achieved her dream of winning her medal in Olympics.
If this one example can give you a glimpse of Saina — her strong character, her willingness to work hard daily to make sure she is the best, her constant self-belief in her abilities — then I am sure you can now understand why I back her up when I say that “Yes, Indeed one day Saina Nehwal will be No.1 in the world.”
And what does Saina Nehwal herself have to say on this issue:
“The world No.1 is Chinese, with almost 12,000 points more than me. It is not easy to become world No.1. But I will try my best. Nothing is impossible. I have made many things possible, so I hope I can make this one too. The amount of hard work which I put in my game is really important. Motivation comes from winning and that is what keeps me going,”
So now I know why they say that “ALL THE GOOD STUFF IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TIRED”.
If you have any questions, You can mail me at [email protected]

This article was first published by Apeksha HA at

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