Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I need more time to shape up as I'm not 100% fit: Saina Nehwal

The badminton champion indulges in

The Rio Olympics is less than a month away and ace shuttler Saina Nehwal -who will be participating in her third Olympics later this year, and whom badminton player P Kashyap considers India's best bet for a medal -is taking it one step at a time to get back in shape, as she feels she is still not 100 per cent fit.

“I still need time to shape up completely . The injuries that I had are recovering, but over the next few weeks I'll have to notch up my game. The Achilles injury needs to heal further. I still have four weeks, so I'm hoping things will get better by then. I want to be physically stronger for the Olympics,“ Saina says. She is training five to six hours every day to prepare herself for the multi-sport event. Since the injury phase was challenging for her, Saina doesn't want to rush things now.“That period was really tough, and it took me a long time to come out of it,“ she adds.

Another aspect that she is working on now are the areas in which her opponents can take advantage. “There are a few areas where I am doing a bit of tweaking. Overall, am working on every aspect of my game,“ she explains. So, is she focusing specifically on the Chinese opponents who have always been strong contenders, Saina says that it is not only the Chinese, but also those from other places. “I need to be in a really good condition to pick up the difficult shots,“ she says.

Meanwhile, responding to P Kashyap's declaration that she is India's best bet, Saina says, “Definitely, people will expect that but I would say that Srikanth and PV Sindhu have a stronger chance. They are the ones who can trouble anyone at any point of time. But, often it happens that the ones who are thought to be least likely to do well end up exceeding expectations. I am trying my best, but it's not going to be easy, as performing at the highest level is difficult.“

As of now, she is trying to keep herself in the best frame of mind.“I just tell her to be focused and not to take stress. Sometimes, I also take her out for a movie just to keep her relaxed and calm, which is important for an athlete,“ says Usha Rani, her mother.

Meanwhile, Saina also maintains that being relaxed and working on her game has indeed helped her and also facilitates her recuperation from injuries. “The work that has gone on so far has yielded positive results and am happy to work with Vimal sir,“ she adds.

She is also glad about the changing scenario of women's representation in the Olympics, in the badminton category . “I am very happy that in India, where 10 years ago not many women players were coming forward to play badminton, now there is a marked improvement. I hope in the future, we'll have at least five to 10 women representing our country ,“ she signs off.

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