Hailing from Haryana, Saina Nehwal was a lonely child in Hyderabad — she could not speak Telegu and mingle with her peers. This was one of the main reasons why her parents sent her to a badminton academy, hoping she would make some friends there.
"Our famiIy is from Haryana. But I got an offer to work in Hyderabad during 1996-97 and shifted with my family. We had no friends there and we were not able to speak the local language," Saina's father, Harvir Singh, who was in Bhopal with her daughter, told HT.
Singh continued, "Saina was unable to interact with other children of her age group in the locality and became lonely. It was then that we decided to admit her at a sports academy, so that she could interact with children there and enjoy her childhood. I had never thought that this one decision would shape her career one day."
Saina’s parents, Harvir Singh and Usha Nehwal, are both former state-level badminton champions.
Singh continued that Saina was quite hard working right from her childhood and had won accolades in karate before making a mark in badminton.
"As a karate player, she had won a brown belt at the state level. She had to wake at 4am and travel about 50km on daily basis for her training in initial days but she never said 'no' for training. It was a very positive trait which encouraged us. Today, whatever she is, she is because of her dedication," he said.