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Shuttlers arrive to low-key welcome

Champion shuttlers and Commonwealth Games gold medallists Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa arrived here on Saturday to a low-key welcome.

other Updated: Oct 16, 2010 23:25 IST

Champion shuttlers and Commonwealth Games gold medallists Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa arrived here on Saturday to a low-key welcome.

It was a private television channel which welcomed the stars. Officials of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh and others did not turn up at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. P. Kashyap, the bronze medallist in men's singles and India's chief coach Pullela Gopichand, also arrived with Saina and others.

Saina, Jwala and Kashyap are from Andhra Pradesh while Ashwini, who partnered with Jwala to win the gold in women's doubles, hails from Karnataka.

“It was a fantastic feeling. I can never forget it,” said Saina on her gold medal winning performance in women's singles. The world number three in badminton said the final was the toughest match of her career.

“The support of my parents, my coach and the home crowd helped me to perform well,” said Saina. She said she would now prepare for next month's Asian Games in China.

Added Gopichand: “It was really amazing. Two golds, one silver and one bronze is our best ever performance in badminton. For the first time we have won gold in women's singles and doubles, and this helped India to achieve the second place in medals tally.”

Saina, Kashyap, Chetan Anand and Jwala also bagged silver in the team event.

The Andhra Pradesh government has announced cash prizes for CWG medallists from the state: Rs .10 lakh, Rs.7.5 lakh and Rs.5 lakh to gold, silver and bronze medal winners respectively. Sportspersons from the state bagged six gold, eight silver and five bronze medals out of India's 101-medal tally.

Ace shooter Gagan Narang won four golds while Asher Noria bagged a silver in men's pairs shooting double trap event. Tennis star Sania Mirza won the silver. The other silver medallists are archers Ritul Chatterjee and Ch Jignas in men's compound team event.