Saina's illness a major blow for India  
Published on 12/02/2012     Source : The Times Of India

If the draw came as a dampener for India's Thomas Cup and Uber Cup teams, they suffered a further blow with ace shuttler Saina Nehwal contracting viral infection.

Saina, who will be spearheading Indian campaign in the Uber Cup, is unwell. In the event, the women's team, which created history by reaching the knockout stage last time, will wait for the update on Saina with fingers crossed. As it is, the road ahead is tough for them, having been clubbed with China and Malaysia in Group W. Their chances of progressing into the next round largely depend on Saina and the doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa.

Even if Saina recovers from the sore throat, it would be difficult for her to give her best in the tournament.

"She was OK till the evening. But once she reached the Delhi airport, she started feeling unwell. When I called her last night she was not able to speak and said she has a severe sore throat. It would be difficult for her to become fully fit within a few days after this viral infection," Saina's father Harvir Singh Nehwal told TOI on Saturday.

The Indian women will face Malaysia on Tuesday. With Saina likely to face a relatively easy opponent, she has enough time to recover but returning to complete fitness is still doubtful.

The Indian men, who are in Group B with Indonesia, Singapore and Macau, will begin their campaign against Singapore on Monday.


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