Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has been nominated for the 2012 Female Player of the Year Award of the Badminton World Federation on the back of an impressive performance in the season which had seen her win a bronze medal in London Olympics.
World No 2 Saina is the only non-Chinese among the five contenders for the top annual award among women shuttlers instituted by the BWF.
The four Chinese are World N 1 Li Xuerui of China who won eight titles in 2012, including the London Olympic gold medal, Olympic silver medallist Wang Yihan Olympic Women's Doubles gold-winning pair Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei (China). Should a pair win the award, they will share it.
Saina won four major titles in 2012 -- two Super Series and two Grand Prix Gold events, besides bagging London Olympics women's singles bronze. She won Indonesian Open and Denmark Open Super Series titles besides the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold and Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold events.
Among those nominated for the Male Player of the Year for 2012 are two-time Olympic gold medallist, Lin Dan of China and his perennial rival, Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei -- the current World No 1 and two-time Olympic silver medallist.
Others in that category are Olympic bronze medallist and winner of BWF World Super Series Finals, Chen Long (China); Men's Doubles Olympic gold medallists Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng
(China) and Lee Yong Dae and now retired Jung Jae Sung Korea), who won the Men's Doubles bronze medal at London 2012.
The key criteria for nomination includes exceptional and consistent performance across a calendar year, performance at the Olympics, BWF events and Super Series events, a good role model for the sport which goes beyond on-court performance, ranked among top five in the world in the year of nomination.
The announcement of the winners -- to be chosen by the BWF Council -- and the presentation of prizes will take place at a gala dinner in Kuala Lumpur on May 18, following the BWF Annual General Meeting.