Saina Nehwal wins bronze, becomes first female Indian shuttler to bag medal at Asian Games in individual event
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal won a historic medal for India in Asian Games 2018 on Monday where she became the first Indian shuttler to win a medal at the quadrennial event in the women’s individual event in badminton. Up against World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, Saina lost 21-17, 21-14. But despite the loss, Saina had created history for Indian badminton as prior to this, no Indian female shuttler had won a medal in an individual event at the Asian Games.
Saina, currently ranked World No. 10, tried her best to give a good fight to Ying, who outclassed her opponent with a better court coverage and wide range of shots in her repertoire. Ahead of the match, Saina had lost her last nine matches against Ying, including three this year. While both the players tried to play attacking shots at each other’s backhands, it was Ying who dominated most of the rallies.
What makes Saina’s medal historic is the fact that no female Indian shuttler had won a medal at the Asian Games 2018 prior to this edition. Soon after Saina’s match, it was PV Sindhu who hogged limelight as she became the first Indian shuttler to advance into the final event at the Asian Games. Sindhu defeated Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi 21-17 15-21 21-10 for her second win over the Japanese at the Asian Games.
While there were several breathtaking strokes played by both the players, one rally which stood out was a 50-shot rally which was won by Sindhu. Sindhu is now up against World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying – who defeated Saina Nehwal in the first semi-final to book her ticket for the summit clash.
After Saina, Sindhu has also assured India of a medal at the Asian Games in an individual event after 36 years. In 1982, it was the legendary Syed Modi won returned with a medal from Asiad. In total, India has won eight medals in badminton in Asian Games 2018 out of which six came in team events.