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Saina confident of breaking into top 30

After her sterling show at the Commonwealth Games, teen sensation Saina Nehwal is confident of breaking into the top 30 of women's badminton singles by the year end.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 20:05 IST

After her sterling show at the Commonwealth Games, teen sensation Saina Nehwal is confident of breaking into the top 30 of women's badminton singles by the year end.

As for her long-term plans, the 16-year-old wonder girl has carefully charted out her career goals and it includes an Olympic medal.

Saina propelled India to a bronze medal victory in the mixed team event in Melboune and her scalps included big guns like Li Li, the defending champion in women's singles and Tracey Hallam, the silver medallist. Li Li is world number 19 while Hallam is ranked nine.

"I performed well at the Commonwealth Games and in the Asian Badminton Championships. I am now trying to reach 30 in world ranking this year," Saina said.

"My main aim is to win an Olympic medal for my country," she told PTI over phone from Hyderabad.

Saina continues to impress with her ability to pack off players in the top 20 bracket without breaking a sweat.

"I was very confident after my good show at the Uber Cup before the Games and I just wanted to play my game. I defeated Tracey Hallam and Li Li in the mixed doubles and that boosted my confidence.

"After those victories I was bit disappointed at not having done well in the singles event," said the teenager, currently ranked 96 in the world. 

Saina's amazing run in the mixed team event started after the coach decided to pass on the singles baton from the seasoned Aparna Popat to her.

Saina, it seemed, was waiting to explode on the international stage as she did not concede a game in the event and India went on to upset Singapore and later beat New Zeland in the bronze medal play-off.

"I just went there and played my natural game. After I won the first game against Li Li, she was under pressure and I took advantage of that. And it has made me believe in my ability to beat top players."

A training stint in China just before the Uber Cup helped improve her game by several notches.

"My training in China before the Uber Cup was very important. Practising there taught me a lot and helped me to improve my game."

Trained by Pullela Gopichand, Saina said the former All England Champion had proved to be the best coach and she was not planning to train abroad.

She also denied reports that she had got offers from a club in Denmark.

"I don't know from where that news came from. I have got no offers and I am happy practising here. For the mext two months I would be training here in Hyderabad and then I will chalk out which are the tournaments to participate," she said.

"As of now I want to concentrate on my practice," she signed off.