Beijing Olympics quaterfinalist Saina Nehwal created history on Sunday when she defeated Malaysia’s Lydia Cheah to win the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix gold badminton tournament in Taipei.
The 21-8, 21-19 win made Saina the first Indian woman shuttler to win a Grand Prix gold event, which is just under the Super Series in the tournament hierarchy.
The 18-year-old, seeded second, had won the Philippines Open in 2006. Though a few top players were missing from the tournament, as they preferred to rest after the Olympics, the significance of Saina’s achievement does not dilute since only former All England champions Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand have won a tournament higher in stature for India.
“Though my win in Philippines is very close to my heart as it was my first major title, this definitely ranks above all,” the world number 14 told Hindustan Times from Taipei.