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Saina hoping to stay fit in build-up to CWG, Asian Games

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 29, 2010 18:25 IST
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Saina Nehwal and Pulella Gopichand at a felicitation functionGoing through a purple patch, Saina Nehwal has nothing to complaint about her form. The ace shuttler now only wants to steer clear of injuries so that she can give her best in the Commonwealth and Asian Games later this year.

"I only pray that I now remain injury-free to help me focus on the World Championships and also the other two big events coming up -- the Delhi Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in China," said Saina on Tuesday.

"There are areas like my defence, which I need to improve in the days to come. The fitness level has to be really good. I think, the challenges are bound to be tougher, especially after winning these titles," said Saina.

Saina rounded off a hat-trick of international titles by defending her Indonesia Open Super Series crown in Jakarta on Sunday.

Before winning in Jakarta, which was the 20-year-old's third Super Series title overall, she won the Indian Open Grand Prix in Chennai and Singapore Open Super Series.

Saina is confident of claiming the No 1 world ranking but knows she now has to work even harder to rise there from No 3.

"Now it is important for me to work harder and win the next international events rather than concentrating on rankings. If I can become number three, then I can also become number one," she said.

"I enjoyed all the matches in the three tournaments. I was a little tired but confident that I could do it. I told myself that I am going to win. Finally I am happy to win three titles in a row. Now I want to win the upcoming tournaments," she added.

"Last year it was tough for me to win the Indonesian Open and it was something special as it was my first super series title. But the latest one is special because I have won three tournaments in a row."

But the young Indian is not ready to compare herself with anyone.

"Definitely, there is a lot more recognition now. I am happy with this, but I don't want any comparison. I just want to make my country proud by winning," she said.

The Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association presented her a cheque for Rs 1 lakh for the rare achievement.

Saina was accorded a hero's welcome when she arrived in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Her family, friends, well-wishers and officials of the Andhra Pradesh Badminton Association received her at the Rajiv Gandhi international airport.

As soon as the 20-year-old came out of the airport, she was hugged by her parents amidst slogans of 'Saina Saina'. She then drove away with her coach, 2001 All England champion Pullela Gopichand, in an open-top flower-bedecked vehicle.

Image: Saina and Pullela Gopichand drive away in an an open-top flower-bedecked vehicle

Photograph:  SNAPSINDIA 

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