I could have done better in tennis than badminton: Saina Nehwal

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Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal playing badminton with Indian President Droupadi Murmu

Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal playing badminton with Indian President Droupadi Murmu

New Delhi: Trailblazing Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal feels she would have perhaps excelled more as a sportsperson if she had picked a tennis racquet instead of playing badminton.

Nehwal has an impressive resume as a badminton player. Not only she became the first Indian woman shuttler to be ranked No. 1 in the world, she was the first woman athlete from the country to win an Olympic medal.

"Sometimes I feel that it would have been good if my parents had put me in tennis," Saina said during her "Her Story–My Story" talk at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

"There is more money and I had more strength I think. I could have done better in tennis than badminton," she added.

While Saina has inspired many to take up badminton, the 34-year-old herself didn't have anyone to look up to when she picked the racquet at the age of 8.

"When I started, I didn't have any role models to look up to. No one to look up to and say 'I want to be world number one or be an Olympic medallist,' I hadn't seen anyone do that in badminton before me," Saina said.

Beside the London Olympics bronze, Nehwal also won a bronze and a silver at the World Championships and multiple Commonwealth Games gold, including two in the women's singles.

She urged the youngsters present to explore a career in sports.

"I always tell children to concentrate on games. China wins 60-70 medals, We only get 3-4. There are so many doctors and engineers, their names don't come in newspapers," she said.

"I want girls to especially to come forward and start getting fit and get into sports. Now we are there for the children, there are world number ones, Olympic champions and so many medallist to look up to," she added.

Reflecting on her career, she said her hard work compensated for the lack of talent.

"I loved hard work, I was not the most talented person, I need to practice a lot. If a talented player is doing something 100 times I had to do it 1000 times. But I like hard work. My coaches like my never give up attitude."

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