Saina Nehwal, the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) women’s singles badminton champion, announced this past week that she is pulling out of next week’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games due to poor conditioning and a failure to recover from foot blisters.
Ranked No. 7 in the world, Nehwal would have entered next week’s event as the tournament’s No. 1 seed both individually and in team competitions.
“It is an extremely difficult decision,” said Nehwal. “I just have a few issues like not being fit and during Australia I got the blisters and got injured. It took time for me to recover and so I am withdrawing from the CWG. I thought I could at least be fit for the next two events. After Australia I didn’t get enough time to train because of the issues with my leg.”
With Nehwal officially out of the tournament, India’s PV Sindhu and Scotland’s Kristy Gilmour will be ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.
Nehwal may have had another great opportunity at a gold medal, knowing she has beat Gilmour in straight games in their three previous matches. For Nehwal, however, the potential to miss the World Championships and Asian Games – the “next two events” she refers to in the above quote – is a bigger issue than missing the Commonwealth Games.
She doesn’t have anything to prove, as both India and the whole world recognize her talent. Her performances at the World Championships especially will have a much more lasting impact on her reputation.
“I know I am a favourite at the Commonwealth Games,” Nehwal said. “I am the defending champion but I still have to play and give my 100% to win the title. In sports, it is difficult.”