Badminton sensation Saina Nehwal on Saturday visited Adani Vidya Vihar where she was greeted by hundreds of schoolchildren.
The 22-year-old,who won a bronze in the recently concluded London Olympics,was also handed over a cheque of Rs 11 lakh by Adani Group. Nehwal is also the brand ambassador of Fortune Plus range for Adani Wilmar Limited (AWL).
Sometimes,the media attention adds to the pressure and I just wanted to focus on my game. It is great to see 13 years of hard work finally paying off. I used to feel very bad when I saw sports stalwarts like Jeev Milkha Singh and PT Usha regretting their failure to win in Olympics. I had vowed to make Indias Olympic dreams come true, said Nehwal,who also interacted with the children of the school.
I hardly went to school when I was in Classes VIII,IX and X as I was always playing. When in Class XI,I wanted to quit studies to focus solely on badminton as I was playing at international level. Although I was a good student,it was getting difficult to train for international tournaments and study at the same time. Thankfully,since 2006,badminton has become very popular, Nehwal said.
Asked about the immense pressure,she said,Earlier,I used to cry after losing in tournaments,but with time I have developed the mental ability to focus on the game ahead. Although I stumbled into badminton by accident,I would have taken to any sport that I would have chosen. I love winning,not badminton.
Nehwal was all praise for the government. The Indian government is very supportive as they send us for 15 to 20 good tournaments every year now. But we lack infrastructure for training potential talent. Unlike China where almost every village has an academy,India has only two good academies for badminton. Fortunately for me,Hyderabad had all the facilities. Also,had Pullela Gopichand (her coach) not have quit playing and started the academy where I train,all this hard work might have gone unrecognised.
After the Oympic bronze,Nehwal is now bracing for Commonwealth Games 2014. When I lost in the semi-finals,I said sorry to my father. I will aim for a gold medal in the next Olympics. Currently,I am looking for a good haul in the Commonwealth Games 2014, she said.