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Badminton: Saina shines as India win bronze

Teenage talent Saina Nehwal catapulted India to a bronze medal finish with a huge upset victory over a top-ranked New Zealand player.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 19:32 IST

Teenage talent Saina Nehwal catapulted India to a bronze medal finish with a huge upset victory over a top-ranked New Zealand player in the badminton mixed team event at the Commonwealth Games on Monday.

After giving a scare to defending champions England in the semifinals yesterday, India rode on the rising starlet's breathtaking form to beat New Zealand 3-1 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

The higher ranked Rebecca Leigh Bellingham had no answer to the aggressive display of the 16-year-old Saina who upset the world no 33 in straight games in the women's singles match.

Earlier, continuing their fine showing in mixed doubles, Jwala Gutta and V Diju eclipsed Adin Daniel Shirley and Sara Runesten 21-17 13-21 21-9 in the first game.

But David John Moody beat national champion Anup Sridhar 11-21 21-8 21-19 to restore parity.

Giantkiller Saina, who had yesterday caused the downfall of both the defending gold and silver medallists in Singapore's Li Li and Traccey Hallm of England respectively, defeated Rebecca 21-13 24-22 and put India ahead 2-1.

The men's doubles duo of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas bounced back against Adin Daniel and Craig Cooper after losing the first game 11-21 to wrap up the next two 21-11 21-18.

Top seed Malaysia will take on England in a repeat of the last edition's title contest.

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 19:32 IST