- Representing IND
Saina Nehwal was already a national superstar in India but her groundbreaking achievements at the London 2012 Olympic Games elevated her to iconic status.
Her bronze medal in the Women’s Singles made her the first Indian woman to win a badminton medal at any Games.
She made her Olympic debut in 2008, beating world-ranked number five Wang Chen of Hong Kong on her way to the Quarter-Finals and an eventual fifth-place finish. That saw her become the first Indian woman to reach the Olympic Quarter-Finals.
But following her glory in London, Nehwal's third Games appearance ended with a group-stage exit at Rio 2016.
She won World Junior Championships gold in 2008 and is the first Indian woman to become a world number one in badminton.
Nehwal, whose parents were both elite badminton players, has competed in two Commonwealth Games and has a full set of medals.
Singles gold and mixed doubles silver came in 2010 on home soil in New Delhi, with a bronze arriving in the mixed team event in 2006 in Melbourne. Nehwal is a also double singles bronze medallist at the Asian Championships in 2010 and 2016.
She was number one in the world in 2015 shortly after she won her first women’s titles at the India Open. It was the first time a non-Chinese badminton player was top of the women’s singles rankings since Denmark’s Tine Baun in late 2010.
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