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Wary of China, Saina Nehwal non-committal about Asian Games medal

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Nov 22 (UNI) Non-committal about her prospects in the Asian Games, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal said a lot would depend on the draw and instead of thinking about medals, she is preparing to put her best foot forward in Doha.

''Well, you can't really say at this point of time whether you can win a medal or not. Top two Chinese players would be out their to make your life miserable and you don't know what the draw has in store for you,'' said the Hyderabad-based teenager.

Pressed further about what could be a realistic target for her in Doha, Saina was unmoved and said, ''I can't predict that either. I hardly have a week to prepare and the next seven days I would be doing just what I have been doing the whole year -- three hours of sweating in the morning and another three hours in the afternoon.

''I have played against some of the Chinese players who would be in Doha and I gave them good fight. So I'm confident,'' explained the shuttler.

Back in the country after finishing second best in the World Junior Championship, Saina admitted she had not expected to advance to the final, where she bowed to top seed Chinese Wang Yihan 13-21, 9-21.

''I consider it a good show and that helped me learn a few things. Before meeting the Chinese players in Doha, I would work on my speed in order to match them. The Chinese players are quite tall as well. They simply never get tired and play the third game as if it's their first. They play sharp, deep shots to keep you at bay.

And they cover the court so well.

''Anyway, my shots have improved and I'm confident with my half-smash and dribblings. In fact if my dribblings come off well, I can put up a stiff challenge,'' asserted the rather reticent Hyderabadi.

On her defeat in the World Championship final, Saina said, ''I'm not taking anything away from Wang but I was too tired, playing two weeks at a stretch and I hardly had rest.'' Now under the tutelege of former All England champion P Gopichand, Saina has her eyes fixed on Olympics and the youngster feels she can only improve further with the passage of time.

''I have to work on my fitness and keep learning. I can't win each and every match but even in defeats, you learn things and then avoid repeating the mistake.

''This was my first year in international circuit and now that I have a hang of the things out there, I think I would further improve next year,'' she said.

The 16-year-old prodigy has a similar strong self-identity and she refuses to call her the Sania Mirza of Indian badminton.

''I'm not badminton's Sania. We play two different game and I believe my job is harder. We are in the same city and our names sound similar -- that's it. We have not met each other either,'' she said in an assertive tone.

UNI AY DH BS1238

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