Saina Nehwal calls on India's women to make an impact

NEW DELHI Thu Jul 8, 2010 5:57pm IST

India's badminton player Saina Nehwal holds her medals from the Singapore Open Series, India Open Grand Prix and Djarum Indonesia Open Super Series tournaments during a news conference in Hyderabad June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder/Files

India's badminton player Saina Nehwal holds her medals from the Singapore Open Series, India Open Grand Prix and Djarum Indonesia Open Super Series tournaments during a news conference in Hyderabad June 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Krishnendu Halder/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Badminton world number three Saina Nehwal has urged India's other female athletes to make the sacrifices necessary to break into the country's male-dominated sports community.

The 20-year-old from Hyderabad, who picked up her second successive Indonesia Open Super Series title last month, told Reuters that Indian women had to toughen up to compete at the highest level.

"It is indeed very difficult for women in this country to excel because of many archetypal conservative attitudes and other societal obstacles," said Nehwal, who became the first Indian woman to reach the Olympic quarter-finals in Beijing in 2008.

"Which is why we have more women from countries like China, Japan and Korea. Also I think women in India need to be mentally and physically stronger to compete in international sports.

"Of course one needs to have conviction, zeal and strong resolve to train and learn. And one has to be watchful of a healthy diet and fitness regime, which means absolutely no fast food and more salads and proteins."

Nehwal put her success down to the financial sacrifices made by her parents and her own dedication to a rigorous training regime that left her exhausted and out of pocket.

"I would often sleep on the pillion of my father's scooter," she said. "And during the course I lost many rackets, some even as costly as 10,000 rupees ($215). On one occasion, my father went on to lodge a police complaint against the loss of racket."

Nehwal said she wanted to build on her success and capture more titles before the end of the year.

"I want to take this winning streak forward to a world championship title, the Commonwealth Games 2010 in India and later Asian Games 2010 in China."

(Writing by Peter Rutherford in Singapore, Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

Reuters Showcase

Killer Unmasked

Killer Unmasked

'Jihadi John' killer from Islamic State beheading videos unmasked as Londoner.  Read | Video 

DLF Penalty

DLF Penalty

DLF says reviewing $8.4 million SEBI penalty.  Full Article 

Fresh Charges

Fresh Charges

Canadian woman accuses Bikram yoga founder of sexual assault.  Full Article 

Maid Abuse Case

Maid Abuse Case

Hong Kong woman jailed for six years for abusing Indonesian maid.  Full Article 

India's Growth Story

India's Growth Story

S&P raises India's GDP forecasts, says it's a bright spot in Asia.  Full Article 

Net Rules

Net Rules

Tougher Internet rules to hit cable, telecoms companies.  Full Article 

World Cup 2015

World Cup 2015

Full coverage of cricket world cup in Australia and New Zealand.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage