For Saina Nehwal, playing for the country is top priority

NEW DELHI (TIP): Badminton queen Saina Nehwal put aside her racquet and walked on to the greens to try her hand at golf at the Delhi Golf Course here on Thursday. The 24- year-old Hyderabadi went for a putt but missed the hole and later admitted that it was indeed a difficult art for a rookie like her. “This is the second time that I tried my hand at golf. It was fun playing a different sport but it’s not easy,” Saina, ranked No. 5 in the world, said about her experience.

When asked for her reaction on the sports ministry’s warning to sportspersons who skip national duty for playing in prize-money tournaments, Saina stressed upon the importance of representing the nation. She said representing India was tough and not many can do it. “When you are playing for the country, you are playing to win. Wherever you play it’s about winning and doing well for the country. You strive very hard at the domestic level and get to represent India after going through a lot of challenges. It’s (representing the country) a tough thing and not many can do it.

It’s not about the prize money or medal. It’s about playing for your country,” Saina said. “Sometimes you can’t blame a player who is forced to skip tournaments due to injuries. But I am sure everyone will want to play for the pride of the country,” Saina, who missed out on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games due to injury, said. When asked about her opinion on some Indian tennis players pulling out of the Incheon Asian Games squad to participate in ranking tournaments, Saina replied: “I don’t want to comment.

For me it’s important to play for the nation.” Saina, who has parted ways with her long time coach Pullela Gopichand, said she was confident of good results and would be back to winning ways soon. “My training with Vimal sir is not about long or short term. It’s about improving.

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