INSPIRATION: Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal says she is proud that her and Sania Mirza are giving Indian sport a much-needed dose of girl power.
Nehwal returned back to the summit of the women’s badminton rankings this week, while Mirza has topped the tennis doubles’ individual standings since earlier this month.
The Hyderabad duo are the two leading lights alongside other prominent ladies like boxing big-hitter Mary Kom – and Nehwal couldn’t be happier.
“Sania Mirza is a big name in the world of tennis; she is the numero uno in her game. I wish her all the best in her future endeavours,” Nehwal said this week. “Women in sports have come up in a big way in recent past. It is good that women power is visible in sports.
“I congratulate all of them, including Mary Kom, Krishna Poonia, Geeta Phogat, Babita Kumari, Heena Sidhu and Sania.”
Nehwal became the first Indian women to be crowned world number one on March 29 after winning the Indian Open Grand Prix, only for China’s Li Xuerui to take over a week later.
Nehwal though regained her crown when Li pulled out of the Singapore Open SuperSeries. “I am proud to be world number one. It is really tough to reach the pinnacle. It took me five years to realise my dream,” the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist said.
Mirza, who shot to the top after three title wins on the trot with new partner Martina Hingis, hopes her achievement will inspire youngsters to take up the sport.
“It’s an amazing feeling. To achieve this after putting in lot of work and sacrifice is really good,” the three-time Grand Slam winner said.
“With me and Saina having done this, I do hope that sports does become a career (for children).”