Injuries are the darkest moments in any sportspersons life and badminton ace Saina Nehwal is going through perhaps the worst phase of her career.
The former world No. 1 and 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist has overcome a lot of adversities and setbacks in the past, but this time she is unsure of her return to the top.
Setbacks aside, Saina Nehwal’s career on the badminton court has given fans a lot to cheer about, including a lot of ‘first evers’ since she burst onto the international scene in 2006.
World championships, Super Series titles, Commonwealth Games gold medal... You name it, Saina has won it all, challenging and breaking the domination of Chinese women on the sport.
Here,we take stock of Saina Nehwal’s best down the years:
1. World junior champion, 2008
Saina Nehwal won the World Junior Badminton Championship gold medal in Pune, becoming the first Indian woman to do so. Saina was the top seed at the championship and beat Sayaka Sato of Japan in a one-sided match in the final, announcing herself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of badminton.
2. Commonwealth Games champion, 2010
At the CWG in New Delhi, pressure was on Saina Nehwal to win the top prize. The girl from Hissar, who was 20 then, delivered in style, winning not just the gold medal in the singles but also a silver in the mixed team event.
3. London Olympics bronze, 2012
Touted as the Saina vs China event, with as many as three top Chinese players in the draw, the Indian won bronze, becoming the first Indian badminton player to win an Olympic medal. Saina, who was in devastating form throughout the event, won bronze after her Chinese opponent, Xin Wang, pulled out during the play-off match due to an injury.
4. Super Series and GP Gold wins (2009 to 2016)
Saina Nehwal has won multiple BWF Superseries events down the years with her favourite being the Indonesia Open (2009, 2010, 2012). Other major titles include the Singapore Open (2010), Hong Kong Open (2011), Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold (2011, 2012), India Grand Prix Gold (2010), Taipei Grand Prix Gold (2011) and the China Open Superseries (2014)
5. World No. 1, 2015
The high point of her career -- Saina became the first Indian woman to become world No. 1 in April 2015, after her win in the India Open Super Series in March. Saina displaced China’s Li Xuerui from the top spot, while Spain’s Carolina Marin (the current world No. 1 and Olympic champion) was in second spot behind the Indian.