Saina Nehwal, one of India’s best bet for Olympic medal in badminton, recently won Australian Open Super Series in Sydney defeating China’s Sun Yu. This 26-year-old Hisar (Haryana) born super champion has received many awards like Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Arjun Award for Badminton etc.
Saina grabbed the limelight for the first time in 2009 when she became the first Indian to win a BWF Super Series title, the most prominent badminton series of the world by winning the Indonesia Open.
Saina is considered as one of the most accomplished players India has ever seen. But how did she achieve agility and fitness to beat the best players in the world? Want to know the secrets of her fitness? Just read on……
1.Strong, Supportive, Positive, Proactive Parents
Saina is psychologically a very strong woman with a very strong family support. She is daughter of former state level badminton champions Dr Harvir Singh and Usha Rani. Her parents instilled a dream of winning an Olympic medal in her and helped her achieve it. She was only eight-year-old when her parents would take her to a training centre 50 KM away from their home. They even relocated to Hyderabad from their home town Hisar to get her best possible coaching from coaches like P Gopichand. Like any player she had her highs and lows too, but neither her parents nor she ever lost sight of their ultimate goal – an Olympic medal.
2. Dedication, Discipline And Focus
Saina has truly inherited the proactive and positive approach of her parents who made all the sacrifices to make her the world champion. She is hundred per cent dedicated towards her game. While growing up, unlike other children of her age, she did not have the luxury to go to bed late or get up late but she hardly ever cribbed. Come what may she gets up at 6 AM and practices hard. Once when asked about the secret of her success she replied – “training….training …….training”.
3. Strict Diet Regime
Saina was initially vegetarian. But she turned to non-vegetarian diet on the suggestion of her coaches to make here muscles stronger, subtle and agile. She lost five kilograms to be leaner and fitter for last Olympics where she won bronze medal. To achieve this she relied on proteins mainly from non-vegetarian sources like eggs, milk, chicken etc.
As far as possible, she avoids fat and stays away from fried food. But she consumes sufficient quantity of fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals that are required to release energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
She consumes sufficient amount of carbohydrates also as she require more than 3,000 calories per game. She drinks sufficient fluids to keep herself hydrated, but on match days she takes small quantity of water on need basis.
Saina prefers small yet frequent meals in place of large portions to maintain high level of energy required for her game.
4. Focus on Fitness
This world rank holder, who first became National Junior Badminton Champion in the year 2004 and World Junior Badminton Champion in 2008, never compromises on her fitness routine. She divides her week into various sessions to achieve perfect fitness and agility. For increasing and maintaining endurance level she prefers eight sessions of agility and moderate running, six sessions of endurance and four sessions of strength training. To enhance her competitiveness, she prefers specific exercises for different body parts. For shoulders she relies on military press, rowing exercises, dumbbell pullovers. For calf muscles she opts for heel raises and lat pull downs and for enhancing agility she prefers customised routine which includes ab-crunches, speedy bursts of running with lunges etc.
Saina says the credit for her success goes to her parents who left no stone unturned to get her best coaches and sports facilities. Known for her ‘never say die’ approach and ‘fighting spirit’, Saina never loses confidence on court. She takes defeats and victories in her stride with equal enthusiasm….after all ‘you win only when you learn from your defeats’.
Though she got bronze medal in the last Olympics, she still nurtures her childhood dream to get a gold medal in Olympics…..to stand on the podium with gold medal and Indian flag flying high.
Our good wishes to you Saina. May all your dreams come true…may you bring glory to your country, parents, coaches and all those associated with you.