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Saina Nehwal Raises Concerns Over Packed BWF Calendar

Saina said, “Nationals is not much of a burden as compared to BWF calendar. The nationals just last for three days, whereas Superseries goes on for five days. You need to take into account the travel time also. It is very heavy on us players. And the next year for the Indians is going to be tougher because of Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.”

Madhav Agarwal | News18 Sports

Updated:December 20, 2017, 3:46 PM IST
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Saina Nehwal Raises Concerns Over Packed BWF Calendar
Saina Nehwal. (Image credit: Getty Images)
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New Delhi: Never has BWF faced so much criticism for the packed yearly schedules, than in the last few weeks. Players and coaches from all round the world have raised their voice in unison and have called for a relatively free calendar year. With 12 Superseries, one world championship, and the domestic tournaments, badminton has one of the busiest schedules, and compared to some of the other sports.

It was the occasion of the launch of third edition of Premier Badminton League, and ace India shuttler Saina Nehwal lashed out at the BWF for being indifferent to the demands and needs of the players. When asked, if making the nationals compulsory for the players has increased the workload,

Saina said, “Nationals is not much of a burden as compared to BWF calendar. The nationals just last for three days, whereas Superseries goes on for five days. You need to take into account the travel time also. It is very heavy on us players. And the next year for the Indians is going to be tougher because of Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.”

“World Championships take half your energy, and if you have a big tournament lined up just in two weeks time, you are challenging yourself mentally and physically. If someone is nursing an injury, there is no time for the player to recuperate. There were a lot of players who were playing last year, but are not playing this year,"

Having recovered from the knee injury, Saina feels that had the calendar been a little bit more flexible, then she could have possibly won more matches, or perhaps tournaments. “When I was recovering from my injury, I concentrated on just one part, so I couldn’t train on other areas. So my fitness wasn’t 100%. But then again I had to take some time off after the World Championship.”

“I very clearly know now that there is nothing without fitness. That is why I have stopped setting targets. I know if I’m fit, I can achieve anything. If you see, my game against Nozomi Okuhara in the world championship, it was a really close match, but she won it because of her far superior fitness,”

Saina went on the extent of saying that while recuperating, she had lost her focus and didn’t know what was the road ahead of her. It was then, that her parents motivated her to return to the circuit.

“There was a time when I didn’t know if I could return to the circuit. But then my parents supported me. They hit the gym for my sake, and showed that if they can do it, I can do it too. The current situation is that I can beat players in the early rounds, but from the third round it becomes a difficulty.”

There are bound to be questions raised about her and PV Sindhu, but the former has maintained that Sindhu is in a better shape right now, which is helping her win tournaments. In the national finals, where Sindhu lost to Saina, she couldn’t have pulled off a win, had the match reached the third game.

“It was a good finals at the nationals against Sindhu. Had the math reached the third game, I wouldn’t have been able to pull off a victory. I was moving well and my smashes also were getting points for me. Also it was a time for me to analyse my fitness.”

Saina, who has never been very vocal about her second stint at the Gopichand Academy, feels that it is just a perception that there is something wrong between us, which isn’t true. In fact she talked about the strong bond they share.

“Ever since I have come back to the Gopichand Academy, people think that there is a problem between us. But I don’t feel it that way, even after three year stint with Vimal Kumar. We don’t talk about all these things, but discuss the game, and schedules.”
| Edited by: Arjit Dabas
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