|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Saina hungry for Asian Games glory
November 22, 2006 20:40 IST
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal said she is working on her speed and stamina to make an impression at the forthcoming Asian Games and cap what has been a dream year for her in style.
The 16-year-old has had an incredible year, climbing to 32 in the world rankings with some remarkable performances on the international stage but Saina says she is hungry for more.
Though Saina has not set any real targets for the Asian Games to be held in Doha next month, she said she would give it her best shot.
"The world's top players will be playing in the Asian Games and it would be tough. I cannot predict anything but I don't have any pressure and will give my best," she said in New Delhi on Tuesday night.
"It depends on the draw as well. The top Chinese girls will be playing although I have played against them and given them a good fight. But any Chinese girl is a difficult opponent," she said.
On her loss in the finals of the World Junior Badminton Championships, she said, "I was quite exhausted in the final after playing for two weeks. That is one area I need to work on. I will have to work on my speed and physical fitness. The Chinese players have good speed and physical stamina which makes them the best," she said.
The teenager is delighted with her performance during the year, adding that she never expected that it would be a turning point in her career.
"I never thought that I could win any international tournament and that too so early in my career. It is like a dream," she said.
"This was my first year in international circuit and I wanted to break into the top-40 in the rankings which I have already achieved. Now I would aim for the top-20 next year."
Saina believe she will now have to put in more hard work as the opponents are studying her game closely.
"You play the same people again and again and they study the game very closely. So you need to keep on improving to maintain the position. At the moment I am not that worried about the world ranking because if I win my rankings will improve on their own," she said.
She also said that constant media attention is proving to be irritating at times.
"It is not pressure but irritating at times. Everywhere you go people keep calling and that is disturbing."
On comparisons with tennis ace Sania Mirza, who also became a star quite early in her career, Saina replied: "I do not know why people keep on comparing me with her [Sania]. She is into a different sport. Sometimes people call me by her name also. I have kept a newspaper cutting where they have put her name in my place," she said.