Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal on Thursday rated the women’s singles title clash against Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia as the toughest match of her career and said she was happy to help the country finish second in the medals tally at the Commonwealth Games here on Thursday.
World number three Saina on Thursday eked out a thrilling 19-21 23-21 21-13 victory over Wong in a 74-minute engrossing battle to become the first female Indian shuttler to win a gold in the Commonwealth Games and ensure the host country second position in the overall medals tally of the quadrennial event with 38 gold medal,just one more than third-place holder England.
“It was the toughest match of my career. It was a big test for me because I have never won from a match point down. But I am happy I could win it for my country in front of my home crowd. I am proud to have taken India to the second position in the medals tally with my gold medal win,” said Saina said,who was lagging 20-21 in the second game before closing it 23-21.
Saina said this was also the toughest that she has played against Mew Choo Wong.
“This fight was most difficult and challenging. She was retrieving everything and running very fast. I hurried in the first game but in the second I played a lot of drops.
“I was under a lot of pressure after I was match point down. I tried to give my best. After the second game win the match turned completely as in the third I was confident,” she said.
“I want to dedicate this medal to my country men and my coaches and family,” Saina added.
The 20-year-old Hyderabadi admitted she was under a lot of pressure on Thursday as she was playing at home. “I was under pressure. It happens to me when I play in the final but I think it happens with all players. I have to be alert. It is something which I have managed so far,I hope I will deal with pressure in future as well,” Saina said.
She said it was the Beijing Olympic loss in the quarterfinals which made her what she is today.
“No medal can compare with that Olympic missed chance. I still don’t know how I lost that. It haunts me. I couldn’t sleep at night for five -six days. I felt like crying. I feel what ever I am today and what ever I have achieved it’s because of that loss,” Saina said.
Asked about her next assignment,Saina said she would now focus on next month’s Asian Games in Guangzhou,China. “Asian Games is my next target. It is four weeks from now. I will have to work harder and hopefully I will do well. It will be very difficult to get a medal because Chinese,Indonesians and Koreans all would be there,” she said.
Saina hoped two golds in women badminton would give the female shuttlers a boost.
“Jwala and Ashwini have also won a gold and it is good for women shuttlers. I hope it will boost them and a lot of the junior shuttlers are female. So,I hope they will come good and attain greater glory,” she said.
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