Saina aims to better her performance in All England C'ship

Beijing Olympic quarterfinalist Saina Nehwal has now set her eyes at the All England Championship to be held in March.

updated: January 25, 2009 15:13 IST
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After her stupendous performance in the international circuit last year that earned her a place in the elite league of top 10 women's badminton player, Beijing Olympic quarterfinalist Saina Nehwal has now set her eyes at the All England Championship to be held in March.

Saina said she wants to better her last year's performance at the All England Championship which her mentor Pullela Gopichand won in 2001.

The 18-year-old Hyderabadi had lost in the very first round of the All England Championship last year.

"I just came from the Korean Open. The All England Championship is the most important tournament of the year for me. I want to improve my performance there this year.

"And to prepare for the All England Championship I need at least a month of good training," Saina said.

Although Saina was inches away from clinching India's first Olympic medal in badminton last year, she said her eventual goal is to bag the gold in 2012 London Games. "My ultimate goal is to be an Olympic gold medallist.

This time, I was close to it, but next time I really want to return to it," Saina said.

The world no 10 also said that after her successful outing in the international circuit last year, she has become more confident and focussed.

"I think I am more focused now. The Beijing Olympics gave me lot of confidence which was instrumental in my success in the Chinese Taipei Open, World Junior Championships and also helped me to do well in the Super Series events," she said.

Saina said after her not so impressive first half of 2008, she worked hard to rectify her weak links which was crucial to her success in the latter half of the year.

"Technically, I tried to improve on my strokes where I am weak. Mostly, I am weak in backhand corner and defence and I worked on those areas. But my attack is very good," she said.

Talking about her formative years, she said her success came at the cost of lot of sacrifices, especially her studies.

"I believed in myself that you have to win in whatever sport you are. When I started playing, everyone knew Gopi sir and that really motivated me. When he can win the All England Championship, why cannot I work hard. I had to sacrifice a lot of things like studies," she said.