Tenacity. It is a quality common to all achievers. The arena may be the boardroom, the film set, or as it was in the case of Saina Nehwal, the centre-court.
It is a quality that drives one to overcome all odds, to turn adversities into opportunities. Saina had more than her share of the former: being born as a girl in a traditional patriarchal society, her parents struggling to meet the financial demands of her ambition, and the intense physical demands the rigor of competitive badminton made.
Being as disciplined and focused as she needed to be, in order to break into global rankings is no easy task, especially when you are a young girl.
Yet Saina persevered. “The best thing about Saina’s game is her consistency. She doesn’t stagnate or cower. She plays with aggression and attempts to improve her technique with every game,” says coach Gopichand.
When terrible injuries to her shoulder, ankle and foot grounded her, Saina hung on.
In one game she was in terrible pain from an injured ankle. Yet she battled on. Giving up was never an option. Read all about how she came back to win a flurry of championships: Indian Open, Singapore Open, Indonesian Open and Hong Kong Open, in the pages of She Walks, She Leads.
Becoming the best in the world does not come easy and for Saina it was all about remaining physically strong, mentally invincible, and a winner in spirit.