Olympic badminton: Saina brings India third medal (Second Lead)

August 4th, 2012 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 4 (IANS) Shuttler Saina Nehwal gave India its maiden Olympic medal in badminton after China’s Xin Wang retired hurt from the bronze medal play-off despite winning the first game at the Wembley Arena here Saturday.

Wang took the first game 21-18 and was leading 1-0 in the second when she decided that she could not carry on with the right knee injury that she picked up after a heavy landing at the end of the first game.

World No.5 Saina became the third Indian to win a medal from the 2012 London Games after shooters Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar won bronze and silver, respectively.

Though Saina, seeded fourth, took off well with exquisite defensive shots in the first game, the Chinese recuperated in no time to equalise at 5-all.

From thereon it was a Wang-dominated game all the way and the Indian could not match her pace making many errors. She made several poor line judgements giving away at least four points to the World No.2.

Wang, a former World No.1, constantly caught Saina on the backfoot and the Hyderabadi, looking nervous, could not pick her cross-court smashes nor her drops at the net. The second seed took a lead of 17-10.

The 22-year-old Indian was not great with the execution of shots and earned a few points with Wang making errors.

However, Saina tried fighting back at the end of the first game after Wang reached game point (20-14). The Commonwealth Games gold medallist then saved four game points to make it 18-20.

But a match point away, the Chinese made a heavy landing, while hitting a smash, and fell on the floor writhing in pain.

The referee called for medical time-out. The tournament doctor came in and tended to her knee. The World No.2 returned to the court with a heavily strapped right knee. Surprisingly, she immediately sealed the game smashing Saina’s serve.

Though, she won the first point in the second game, she again dropped on the court in pain.

Saina went to comfort Wang, who had no choice but to retire as she could not carry on.

The match was awarded to Saina, who hugged her opponent becoming India’s second woman to win an Olympic Medal after weightlifter Karnam Malleswari at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

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