Saina Nehwal is on the long road to recovery from the knee injury that shockingly ended her run at the 2016 Rio Olympics, prematurely. However, the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist and former world No. 1 fears that the current injury could end her career.
The fear might be stemming from frustrations as she will need a few more months of intensive rehab (which involves a lot of pain as well) to get back to the world-beating form that she once possessed.
And, going by the way Saina Nehwal has overcome past setbacks, including serious injuries, we have a lot of reasons to hope that the 26-year-old is going to make a successful comeback to competition.
Here are five worst moments of Saina Nehwal’s badminton career:
1. In 2009, after dominating the junior world championships and just as she was breaking into the senior ranks, Saina Nehwal suffered the first major injury in her career, a shoulder niggle. The “pain in the shoulder” forced Saina to skip the National Badminton Championships in early 2009. But after a month off for recovery, she returned to action at the All England Super Series in March.
2. While 2010 was a landmark year for Saina, in which she won the Commonwealth Games gold in Delhi and three Super Series titles, she sustained an ankle injury in December.
The injury more-or-less ruined her entire 2011 season, where her performances on tour was indifferent, at best. But she overcame those issues a couple of months before the 2012 Olympics and went on to win the historic bronze medal at the Games.
3. Defending champion Saina Nehwal pulled out of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (July) after failing to recover from a groin injury and leg blisters she sustained during her march to the title at the Australian Open Super Series a month before the Games.
4. 2015 was also a mixed year for Saina Nehwal after she hit peak to become the world No. 1 in April. The low point came at the end of the year when her game, especially court movements, got severely restricted due to a pelvic and Achilles tendon injuries. However, she recovered from those niggles in early 2016, getting her journey towards Rio back on track.
5. The Hissar girl’s Olympic campaign in Rio was curtailed due to an injury on the right knee. In fact, Saina had injured the knee just before the Olympics and played the first match carrying the injury, aggravating it.
The injury — a fracture and patellar tendon impingement in her right knee — has kept her out of competition since the Games.