Saina Nehwal is an Indian professional badminton singles player. A former world no. 1, she has won over 24 international titles, which includes eleven Superseries titles.
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.
She has represented India three times in the Olympics, winning a bronze medal in her second appearance.
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 or.
In 2006, Nehwal became the first Indian female and the youngest Asian to win a 4-star tournament.
She also has the distinction of being the first Indian to win a Super Series title.
In the 2014 Uber Cup, she captained the Indian team and remained undefeated, helping India to win bronze medal. It was India’s first medal in any BWF major team event.
Nehwal became the first Indian to win two singles gold medals (2010 and 2018) in Commonwealth Games.
Considered one of the most successful Indian sportspersons with 433 wins and 24 career titles, she is credited for increasing the popularity of badminton in India.
In 2016, the Government of India (GoI) conferred the Padma Bhushan – India’s third highest civilian award – on her.
Previously, the nation’s top honours, namely the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2009-10 and the Arjuna Award in 2009, Padma Shri in 2010, were also conferred on her by the Government of India.
She was awarded the Most Promising Player of the Year (2008) award by Badminton World Federation
Nehwal is a philanthropist and was ranked 18th on the list of most charitable athletes.
Saina Nehwal, the daughter of Harvir Singh Nehwal and Usha Rani Nehwal, was born in Hisar on 17 March, 1990.
When her father was promoted and transferred from Haryana to Hyderabad, she took up badminton at the age of eight to express herself as she did not know the local language well enough to socialise with other kids.
Her mother, Usha Rani, was a state level badminton player in Haryana. Nehwal took up badminton to fulfill her mother’s dream of becoming a national level badminton player, while her sister played volleyball.
Her father, who has a PhD in agricultural science, worked at Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, was among the top players in the university circuit. He used his provident fund to invest in good badminton training for her.
Nehwal also has a brown belt in karate.
She and her family still speak the Haryanvi language at home.
She is a fan of Shah Rukh Khan and Prabhas.
She married fellow badminton player, Parupalli Kashyap in a private ceremony on 14 December 2018.
She is in the process of opening a badminton academy in her native state of Haryana.
Nehwal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Delhi on 29 January 2020
Saina Nehwal Institute of Agricultural Technology, Training & Education at Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University is named after her.
Her autobiography, Playing to Win: My Life On and Off Court, was released in 2012