Saina Nehwal is an Indian professional badminton player who is loved and respected by all of India. A former world no. 1, she has won 24 international titles. Let us wish her a very Happy Birthday.
Saina Nehwal was born on 17 March 1990 in Hisar, Haryana. Her family moved to Hyderabad when she was 8 years old, and she took up badminton in order to express herself as she was not well versed in the local language to communicate with her peers. In 2006, Nehwal became the under-19 national champion and created history by winning the “Asian Satellite Badminton Tournament” (India Chapter) twice, becoming the first player to do so. In May 2006, at age 16, she became the first Indian woman and the youngest player from Asia to win a 4-star tournament – the Philippines Open.
IN 2008, she became the first Indian to win World Junior Badminton Championships. Although she reached the world’s 2nd in 2009, it was only in 2015 that she was able to attain the world no. 1 ranking, thereby becoming the only female player from India and overall, the second Indian player – after Prakash Padukone – to achieve this feat.
Nehwal has achieved several milestones in badminton for India. She is the only Indian to have won at least one medal in every BWF major individual event, namely the Olympics, the BWF World Championships, and the BWF World Junior Championships. She is the first Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal, the first Indian to have reached the final of the BWF World Championships, along with being the only Indian to have won the BWF World Junior Championships.
Considered one of India’s most successful badminton players, Nehwal is credited for increasing the popularity of badminton in India. In 2016, the Government of India conferred the Padma Bhushan – India’s third highest civilian award – on her. Previously, the nation’s top two sporting honors, namely the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award, were also conferred on her by the Government of India. She had also received Padma Shri in 2010.
Saina Nehwal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi on 29 January 2020. She is also a philanthropist and was ranked 18th on the list of most charitable athletes.