Saina thwarts Sikki to grab the Gold

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Pune, Oct 17 (UNI) Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal rallied back to brush aside a spirited challenge from her Indian rival Sikki Reddy and won the Gold medal in the girls' singles event of the Commonwealth Youth Games here today.

Trailing by a 3-4-point margin in both the games, Saina battled her way into the match and secured a 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) win over Sikki who grabbed the silver.

The bronze medal in the girls' singles went to Panuga Riou of England who beat Malaysia's Tiffany Currier Chase 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 21-16).

''I think she played exceedingly well today. I expected a good fight and she really made me work hard,'' Saina told about Sikki after the match.

However, Sikki will have another opportunity to lay her hands on the gold medal when she teams up with P C Thulasi later in the evening to fight for the gold medal in the doubles category.

Sikki did show her potential and was pretty close make an upset today, but Saina experience and skills put paid to her dreams of securing a gold.

In the first game itself, Sikki had taken a handsome lead and was heading to win the first game, but Saina, with her sound technique, coupled with some great judgements across the court, made a dramatic turaround to take the first game.

World number 11, Saina let go a few of Sikki's smashes which could have fetched points to any of those, but Saiana made some close calls to not to offer any shot and grabbed a few points in such a manner on more than a couple of occasions.

The script, in the second game, followed exactly the same way it did in the first and though, Sikki did fight till the end but a cool-headed Saina proved better than her on the day.

With Saina already a known face in the World Badminton arena, Sikki's performance here must have raised a lot of hopes in India and even the girl is also eyeing to make some great upsets in future.

''Yes, definitely I have my future plans ready and with such kind of performances you get a lot of motivation,'' Sikki said.

UNI RAR AB NS1702

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