Saina has potential to win Olympic medal: Lee Chong Wei
India's ace women's badminton player Saina Nehwal is very skillful and has the potential to win a medal at this year's London Olympics, provided she continues to work hard, feels World No. 1 male shuttler Lee Chong Wei.
"The ultimate goal of playing in a competition is winning; it is a desire of bravely pursuing the victory. Whoever is well-prepared, the chance to win is ready. She's (Saina) young and has a strong skill, she has every potential to win if she continues her good work," Lee said.
Two-time All England champion Lee is leading the world rankings for quite some time and the Malaysian credited his hard work for dominance in the men's arena.
"In order to be the World No.1, I had to wake up every day at 5 am to train. Running, game techniques and footwork practices, physical training etc. It is a result that I have gained by working hard every day," he said.
The 29-year-old will be in Delhi for the Yonex Sunrise India Open Super Series -- the last qualifying tournament for the London Olympics -- and the defending champion said he is looking forward to the event.
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'Path to become the champion in London is not easy'
"Each competition is equally significant to me. It is upto the player to examine himself and his skills. Therefore, I play with my utmost. I have full confidence on myself. I strive to keep up a good condition. To every player, moving forward is to win. It is the final goal," he said.
Inpite of his dominance in the men's circuit for quite sometime now, a World title and gold medal at the Olympics still eludes Lee.The 2008 Beijing silver medallist said the path to an Olympic gold is not easy and he is training "zealously" to achieve that glory.
"To me, or to an athlete, Olympics is an extraordinary important tournament, but competition is always cruel; only one winner can be at the pinnacle, but even the greatest hero can be defeated, nobody can stand on it forever," he said.
"My path to become the champion in the 2012 London Olympics is definitely not an easy one. As professional players, we are always training zealously, to the extent of forsaking personal time, to pursue victories in all competitions. Everything that we do, we do it to win. If we dare to win, we should also dare to lose," Lee added.
Asked if he feels the pressure of expectations, Lee said: "Yes, it does. Representing my country on world-class competition, the London 2012 Olympics, to get the gold medal is not solely about personal glory, I need to reach everyone's expectation; transform the pressure into a source of motivation. It is a powerful impetus to help me move on. Whether it is a heavy burden or a powerful motivation, it all depends on your thought and point of view," he added.
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Pressure is what keeps me going: Taufik
Former World and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat will also participate in the India Open. The Indonesian said he is excited to be back in India.
"It's always been fun playing in India; the crowd is very supportive and always gives me a warm welcome. I love seeing how badminton is now becoming one of the most popular sports in India," said Taufik, who won the Indonesian Open six times.
The World number 12, who will look to seal his Olympics berth at the India Open, said the pressure will act as a motivational factor for him.
"Pressure is what keeps me going; pressure motivates me to be better," said the 30-year-old.
Asked about the status of badminton in Indonesia, Taufik said the sport is struggling to regain its lost glory.
"In my opinion, badminton condition in Indonesia is struggling to reach back to its golden moment. However, many strategies have been developed to prepare the next generation.Hopefully, even though we are moving in a slow progression, eventually we will bounce back," he said.
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