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Saina Nehwal creates history, enters Badminton World Championship finals

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

World No.2 shuttler Saina Nehwal created history by becoming the first Indian to enter the final of the badminton World Championships as the second seed defeated a stubborn Lindaweni Fanetri 21-17, 21-17 in the women’s singles semi-final here on Saturday.

Olympic bronze medallist Saina prevailed in a 55-minute encounter against the world No. 29 Indonesian. In the final on Sunday, the 25-year-old Indian will meet defending champion and top seed Carolina Marin of Spain, who overcame eight seed South Korean Sung Ji Hyun 21-17, 15-21, 21-16 in one hour and 30 minutes. Saina holds a 3-1 advantage in career meetings against the world No.1.

Going into the match, Saina was the heavy favourite but her opponent got a very good start. Saina took some time to attain momentum as Fanetri held a 6-2 lead. But once the former World No.1 founder her rhythm, she seized the initiative and pushed her rival on the back foot.

Fanetri was forced to play catch up but remained close to Saina’s score at the Istora Senayan stadium. The Hyderabadi held a three-point lead at 14-11 but Fanetri kept coming back, equalizing at 15-all. They were involved in long rallies for the next two points.

However, at 17-17, Saina utilized her experience and finished the game in her favour by taking three consecutive points. Saina’s deft net play played a key role in getting the better of the local talent of her same age.

At the start of the second game, when the score read 2-1 in favour of strong favourite Saina, Fanetri suffered a knock to her heavily bandaged right knee after a fall but continued her fight. Urged on by a vociferous partisan crowd, Fanetri kept fighting on even though she seemed to be struggling in her movement on the court.

At the break, the second seeded Indian held a 11-10 lead at the break before Fanetri equalized. Saina grabbed three points at a stretch to make it 14-11 but Fanetri equalized at the same score with sharp drop shots.

But Saina fought back for a 17-14 lead before her opponent employed two sharp smashes to make it 16-17. Saina got two more points before her opponent reduced the deficit to one at 18-17.

However, Saina once again wrestled the key moments as she bagged three consecutive points to seal the game 21-17 and march into the final.

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Sachin Tendulkar endorses sports on social media

Tendulkar was supposed to speak on 'Right to Play and the Future of Sports in India' in the Upper House but he wasn't able to as the house was adjourned.

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Sachin credited full support to the sports in India
Sachin credited full support to the sports in India

New Delhi, Dec 22: A day after being forced to leave the Rajya Sabha without making his debut speech, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar on Friday took to social media to speak on the overall environment of sports in India.

In a video posted on his social media accounts, Tendulkar praised the northeast in particular for having a ‘vibrant sporting culture’, saying India must move on from being a ‘sport-loving’ nation to ‘sport-playing’ nation.

“It is my endeavour to transform India from being a sport loving nation to a sport playing nation. I urge you all to participate in this effort and help make my dream, our dream. Always remember, dreams do come true! Jai Hind,” the cricket icon said.

“Sport has a unique way of building the nation, it builds character for individuals which means character for India.”

“From being the naughty child to chasing the dream to win the World Cup for India, I became more disciplined and more focussed. I had a goal and I started planning for it.

“But the most important aspect was the execution of those plans, not always did I succeed. There were occasions where I failed but sports taught me to get back on my feet again and compete in the fiercest possible manner,” he said.

The Bharat Ratna awardee highlighted the likes of Dipa Karmakar, Bhaichung Bhutia, M.C. Mary Kom, L.Sarita Devi, and Mirabai Chanu as examples of the north east’s excellence in sports.

“The north east of India, which has only four percent of the total population has a vibrant sporting culture. It has produced many sporting heroes including our boxing icon Mary Kom. Sports promote social harmony,” he said.

The master blaster also hailed the parents and coaches of Rio Olympics medallists duo of shuttler P.V. Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik and other women sporting stars like shuttler Saina Nehwal and cricketer Mithali Raj for encouraging them to take up sports.

“Daughters of India have shown what they are capable of with champions like Sindhu, Sakshi, Saina, Sania (Mirza), Mithali and the list goes on and on. When dreams don’t discriminate then why do we?

“I want to appreciate their parents, family members, their coaches, their friends for helping and encouraging them and that is the only reason they have reached here.

“My message to parents is to give equal support and encouragement to their daughters and sons and they will make them proud,” the little master said.

“Before the Olympics or a major sporting event, our expectations go sky-rocketing. I realise that things are changing for the good and that we have adopted long-term approach on preparation,” he added.

Earlier, on Thursday, Tendulkar was supposed to speak on ‘Right to Play and the Future of Sports in India’ in the Upper House but he wasn’t able to as the house was adjourned after Congress members disrupted proceedings over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark against his predecessor Manmohan Singh and the 2G scam.

Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu Naidu urged the Congress members to allow the legendary batsman to speak but to no avail. IANS

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