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Exclusive: I never lost hope, just kept fighting, says Saina Nehwal on CWG gold
From the Web Desk, 16/04/2018, New Delhi

 From going to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics with the expectations of a nation on her shoulders, to exiting the quadrennial Games with defeat in her second game, to staring at a potential career-ending knee injury to forging a successful return to the badminton court over the last 18 months, former World No 1 Saina Nehwal has seen it all. On Sunday, vindication of all the hard work put in since she came back from knee surgery in late 2016 came in the form of a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, which made Saina the first Indian badminton player to win two singles golds at the CWG. Up against compatriot PV Sindhu, the World No 3, in the women’s singles gold medal match on Sunday, Saina prevailed 21-18, 23-21 in a riveting performance highlighted by an aggressive approach that she never backed down from. With this win Saina, ranked 12th in the world, took her overall head-to-head record against Sindhu to 4-1. Speaking to TOI from Gold Coast hours after she beat Sindhu, Saina said she was extremely pleased with her performance and revealed that channeling criticism into improving her fitness was the biggest gain. “I faced criticism, but that’s what has helped me to work on the area where I felt and Gopi sir felt and Christopher Pedra, our physio, felt I needed to improve on. And that’s what matters - to improve and make yourself fit and I am happy to have won the Commonwealth Games gold because it’s a prestigious tournament and everyone wants to win it for the country,” said the 28-year-old. “I didn’t lose hope, I wanted to fight and win tournaments again and make myself a more positive person. It’s working well and just want to remain fit for the rest of the year.”


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