New Delhi: She is not quite fully there as far recovering from her knee injury is concerned, but London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal on Wednesday asserted that she would compete in the prestigious World Super series Finals in China next month.
"The Super Series in China is coming up. The world's top players will be playing in that competition. I lost in the final last year, so, I am looking forward to it," Saina said.
The 22-year-old shuttler was in the Capital along with cricketer Yuvraj Singh, who launched her autobiography - 'Playing to Win - My life on and off court'. Barring a second-round exit in the Hong Kong Open earlier this month, Saina has had a great results post Olympics, winning the Denmark Open and entering the final of the France Open.
"I did not have enough time to recover after Denmark and France," said Saina who till recently had a tape wrapped around her knee. Some times you don't want to play with a tape wrapped around your knee. It's difficult but I try to do as much as possible. In a sport like badminton, you tend to get injured often, especially the knee and ankle," the Hyderabadi added when asked how she copes with injuries.
Saina has urged the concerned stakeholders to open up more an more world-class academies.
"Indians are better in talent but we don't have enough world-class academies and world class international coaches. We need more academies and more sponsors. (In India) By the time you are 15-16, parents would only want the kids to become a doctor or engineer. My father asked me and I said want to be a badminton player. He agreed. As far as infrastructure was concerned, Saina said, "The government is doing a fantastic job by sending players abroad but we are lacking in states, it's not quite like China or Korea."
"We need more international coaches, 100-200 determined coaches. Gopi sir (P Gopichand) is there but we need more like him. They are taking a lot of interests but it's still very slow.
Reminded about the 2012 Games, her most glorious moment, she said, "I had viral fever seven days before the Olympics, I was taking antibiotics. But the doctors and physios just told me to go and give my best. Thankfully, this bronze medal has given me so much. I Would like to give something back to the sport," was what Saina said when asked what she would like to do after she retires.
Saina revealed that she had moist eyes after winning the Commonwealth Games final here in 2010. The air was filled with camaraderie and a bit of banter too. Saina added to the mood when she remarked that "in India it's all just cricket".
A jovial Yuvraj defended: "When Saina is playing and when we see the headline 'Saina vs China' it takes a lot of popularity from cricket.
Saina said, "It's just that cricket is taken up professionally. Other sports have to raise the bar and a little bit of support will do."
Coming back to battling injuries, Yuvraj said, "You just think about competing, the flag and the country. The passion for playing for the country and the pride attached to it."
"I just hope Saina never has to go through what I have gone through last year. Every sport needs a champion like Saina, she is the nation's pride," added Yuvraj, who successfully battled a rare germ cell cancer.