India were promoted to the second tier of the Sudirman Cup world team badminton championships for the first time in 20 years when they beat Bulgaria 3-0 in their group three play-off on Thursday.
Saina Nehwal was again in imperious form in the women's singles, demolishing Linda Zetchiri 21-14, 21-17 in the mixed team championship, being held in Guangzhou, China. In men's doubles, Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar beat Vladimir Metodiev and
Yulian Hristov 13-21, 11-21.
In men's singles, Arvind Bhat came from behind to beat Krasimir Yankov 21-16, 16-21, 19-21.
Out of 18 matches India played they lost only one to Australia, in the women's doubles. India beat Australia 4-1 and routed Ukraine and Scotland 5-0 en route to the Bulgaria showdown.
Saina sounded elated after Thursday's win. “It's a great feeling, for this is the first time India have ever been promoted. I am enjoying the moment,” she said.
Saina also said the tie against Scotland was very crucial and that Thursday's match was “relatively easy.”
Asked about her slightly below-par performance in the run up to the event, Saina cited a shoulder injury as reason. “I was nursing an injury.
Though I couldn't win any tournament but I wasn't bad either. I am better now, and I still have two months to regain my fitness before going into the world championship”. In the last edition of the Sudirman Cup in Glasgow, an under-strength team reached the final play-off round in Group III only to be routed by France 3-0.