Personal information
Date of birth March 17, 1990 (1990-03-17) (age 18)
Place of birth Hisar, Haryana, India
Women's singles
Country  India
Handedness Right
Coach Pullela Gopichand
Highest Ranking 10 (December 5, 2008[1])
Current Ranking 10 (December 5, 2008[1])
BWF Profile


Saina Nehwal (born 17 March 1990) is a Indian badminton player. Currently ranked number 10, Saina is the first Indian woman to reach the singles quarterfinals at the Olympics and the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships.

Previously coached by S. M. Arif, a Dronacharya Award winner, Saina is the reigning Indian national junior champion and is currently coached by Indian badminton legend Pullela Gopichand at his academy in Hyderabad.

Her professional career is managed[2] by GloboSport[3].

Early years

Saina was born in the city of Hisar in Haryana, India. Her foray into the world of badminton was influenced by her father Dr. Harvir Singh, a scientist at the Directorate of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad and her mother Usha Nehwal, both of whom were former badminton champions in Haryana[4].

In December 1998, Saina's father took her to meet Coach Nani Prasad at the Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad. Seeing potential in the girl, Prasad asked Singh to enroll Saina as a summer trainee.

Harvir Singh and Saina, who was 8 yrs old at the time, would wake up at 6 every morning and head to the stadium which was 20 km away. After two hours of practice, Singh would drop Saina to school on his way to work. Saina would often fall asleep on these journeys which prompted her mother to accompany them for the next three months.

Traveling nearly 50 km a day in order to accommodate the training schedule, Singh eventually decided to move closer to the stadium in 1999. This however didn’t end the traveling ordeal as Saina was asked to attend evening training sessions as well. With the extra training sessions, traveling expenditure rose phenomenally. Added to the cost of equipment including shuttles, rackets, shoes, gutting and expenses rose to over Rs. 12,000 per month.

In order to keep up with the rising cost of her training, Saina’s father withdrew money from his savings and provident fund. The tight-rope walk continued until 2002, when sports brand Yonex offered to sponsor Saina’s kit. As her status and rankings improved, the sponsorships increased. In 2004, BPCL signed the rising star onto their payroll, and in 2005 she was spotted by the Mittal Champions Trust.[5].

Career Summary
Saina is the reigning Under-19 national champion. Also a regular in the senior circuit where she lost to former India number one Aparna Popat, Saina created history by the winning the prestigious Asian Satellite Badminton tournament (India Chapter) twice, becoming the first player to do so.

In 2006, Saina appeared on the global scene when she became the first Indian woman to win a 4-star tournament, the Philippines Open[6]. Entering the tournament as the 86th seed, Saina went on to stun several top seeded players including number seed Huaiwen XU before defeating Julia Xian Pei Wong of Malaysia for the title. The same year also saw Saina as runner up at the 2006 BWF World Junior Championships, where she lost a hard fought match against top seed Chinese Wang Yihan. She did one better in the 2008 by becoming the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships by defeating ninth seeded Japanese Sayaka Sato 21-9, 21-18.

She became the first Indian woman to reach the quarter finals at the Olympic Games when she upset world number five and fourth seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong in a three-game thriller. In the quarter-finals Saina lost a nail biting 3-gamer to world number 16 Maria Kristin Yulianti. In September 2008, she won the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open 2008 beating Li Ya Lydia Cheah of Malaysia 21-8 21-19 [7]. Maria Yulianti had earlier lost her quarter-final match to Pia Bernadet, Saina's semi-final opponent, thus denying Saina a rematch.

Saina is all set to take on the world Top ten, having been named The Most Promising Player in 2008 [2]she reached the world super series semifinals in the month of december2008.[3].