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Saina Nehwal's controversial withdrawal: who is to blame?
Indian badminton fans were shocked when Saina Nehwal had to withdraw from the game against Russian Ksenia Polikarpova in Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship in Lucknow, when she was just a point away from a win.

SAINA NEHWAL was leading 20-18 in the second set after taking the first set, 21-17. Due to a knee injury, the player decided to walk out of the court conceding the game. Even though it seems Nehwal retired from the game to make sure her injury doesn’t aggravate, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has expressed its displeasure.

To be fair, the player has been playing with this pain in previous tournaments post-London Olympics as well, so her continuous travelling all around the world and matches must have taken a toll on her knees. It was a time bomb waiting to happen. But, it was unfortunate, as the player felt pain, when she was close to victory.

Had this been an important series, may be a super series, Nehwal would have carried on and won the match. On the other hand, the BAI has always wanted Nehwal to play tournaments in India, as it would help in bringing crowds to the stadium and also help in the development of the sport. The BAI’s stance is also not wrong as other top Chinese players play in their Grand Prix gold events, which Nehwal does not seem to be excited about. It is only Nehwal, who can popularise Indian badminton and she needs to help Indian badminton.

The player, according to The Hindu, was under pressure from the BAI to play in this tournament. If this is the case, the BAI should have let the Indian superstar to take the decision herself rather than pressurising her. Had this been done, this episode would not have happened at all. In fact, it was the BAI that had 'requested' Nehwal to play in this championship.

She might have agreed to it reluctantly, but was in no mood to aggravate the injury, which might have done her more harm and could have forced her to give up future championships such as Korea Open and Malaysia Open scheduled for January 2013. For the player of her stature, she prefers to play against the best of the best and there is nothing wrong in it. Her focus normally lies in super series played world over, where she gets to compete against top players of the world and help her gain points in the circuit and climb up the ranking charts. She is currently ranked number 3.

From the above episode, it would be unfair to blame either BAI or Sania Nehwal. But, one would hope that this incident does not lead to bad relationship between BAI and Nehwal, as both need one another for the success of Indian badminton.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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