Nehwal Wins Bronze After Wang Xin Suffers Injury  
Published on 05/08/2012     Source : India Real Time

It was not quite how we wanted to see Saina Nehwal win her medal. But it’s a medal nonetheless and Saina fought hard for it.

India’s badminton star won a third medal for her country at the London Olympics Saturday, clinching bronze after her opponent, China’s Wang Xin, got injured. They were competing for third and fourth place after both losing in the semi-finals.

But in the court, Nehwal showed her worth. As millions of Indians were glued to their television screens, Nehwal’s demeanor in court was confident and her movements swift. The 22-year old was a lot more in control of the match than she was in the semi-final against Wang Yihan, when the Chinese player, ranked the world’s number one, easily defeated her Indian counterpart.

During Saturday’s match, Nehwal took an early lead, with her Indian fans in the stadium erupting in cheers. But Wang, the world’s number two, eventually caught up with Nehwal, despite her strong defense.

At one point Nehwal was down 15-9, after which she made a comeback worthy of praise. It was a close game but Wang eventually won the first game 21-18.

Just before the end of the first game, Wang suffered an ankle and knee injury. By the time the second game started, it became clear she was unable to continue and bowed out. Nehwal was declared winner. This makes her the second female Indian athlete to ever win a medal at the Olympics after weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari, who won bronze in Sydney in 2000.

The news was well-received by her family and supporters. “Today is a phenomenal win for Saina. It is a win for badminton in India, it is a win for hard practice,” Harvir Singh, Saina’s father, told news channel NDTV. After the announcement, the President of the Badminton Association of India announced Nehwal will be given a prize of 2.5 million rupees ($45,000).

Nehwal entered the Olympics on a high,winning gold at the Indonesia Open Grand Prix in Jakarta. But she knew the Olympics were going to be another game altogether.

“While the tournament win just before the Olympics is definitely a boost, at the end of the day I will go into the Olympics with a fresh game. It’s a different tournament. One has to start afresh from round one and how you play on that day is all that matters. Olympics are tougher than any other event, so it’s going to be hard,” she said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal ahead of the Summer Games.


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