Archive for ‘Sports’

August 4, 2012

Saina Nehwal loses in semis but still in hunt for bronze

LONDON: Outclassed by a clearly superior rival, Saina Nehwal on Friday tamely lost to the top-seeded Yihan Wang of China in the women’s singles semi-final of the Olympic Games, acknowledging later that the Chinese was “too fast” for her.ImageWorld No 5 Saina, the first Indian to reach the Olympic semi-final in the shuttle game, was beaten 13-21 13-21 by the world’s top women’s badminton player in a match that lasted 42 minutes before a packed Wembly Arena where Indian supporters outshouted the Chinese but that too did not help.

Saina can still hope to win an Olympic bronze in a play-off with yet another Chinese player Xin Wang, who was defeated by compatriot Li Xuerui in a closely fought second semi-final 22-20, 21-18, played immediately after Saina-Yihan clash. The Indian will meet the World No 2 Chinese in the play-off on Saturday.

Clearly off colour, the Hyderabadi girl was never in the match except for brief moments in the second set. She was unable to draw her rival into rallies and could not hold her service for long.

The taller Wang moved swiftly on the court, never allowing Saina to engage in rallies which is her strength. The longest rally of the match lasted 38 seconds and the average rally just 10 seconds.

Acknowledging the superiority of Wang, the disappointed Indian said later that she was too fast for her while she herself was not moving so well on the court.

“Wang was simply too fast for me. I was not moving well on the court and she exploited that. I made some errors in crucial stages which did not help me,” she said.

“I tried hard in some areas but she just did not allow me to settle down and engage in rallies. She was finishing off quickly and was coming upto the net to attack. I could not counter that kind of a game,” Saina expplained.

Asked if she had not had enough recovery time for the match after her yesterday’s quarterfinal win, Saina said that was not an issue at all and that she had had enough recovery time.

Up against the top seeded Chinese, Saina committed too many unforced errors to see her dream of winning an Olympic gold medal come crashing.

There was very little margin for error for Saina as Yihan was sharper, more accurate and also used her powerful smashes to outwit the Indian.

The 22-year-old committed too many unforced errors to lag 6-11 at the interval in the first game. Although Saina tried to come back with the help of some brilliant net play, the Chinese employed some immaculate placements and powerful smashes to lead 1-0.

In the second game, Saina tried to match her superior rival and did trouble her to enjoy a one-point lead at the break. But the tall Chinese used her height to advantage and was also very quick on the court.

She mixed her repertoire of strokes to incude the Indian to commit errors and moved ahead.

Yihan anticipated the shots and was better prepared and, with Saina hitting wide and long, the Chinese registered three straight points after moving into the match point to cement her place in the finals.

This was Yihan’s sixth victory over Saina in as many encounters.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

July 7, 2011

Athletes told me they knowingly take drugs: Saina

Mumbai: Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal gave a stunning twist to the raging dope scandal by saying that many athletes and weightlifters had told her in the past that they knowingly consume banned drugs.

“I also know many athletes and weightlifters who themselves tell me that “we take it”,” Saina told reporters during a promotional event for Titan watches.

India was rocked by doping scandal recently with eight top national athletes who got training in NIS failing dope tests.

There were also reports that banned drugs were widely available in chemist shops near the national institute of Sport in Patiala.

Asked if she was aware about the availability of banned drugs at medical stores, the world number six said, “I don’t know whether it is available or not. I don’t take it.”

Saina, however, felt that lack of awareness about medicines was the major reason behind athletes testing positive for banned drugs in the country.

“It’s really sad they don’t know what they are taking. I’m sure everyone knows WADA rules, its very common. They have a website which mentions which medicines are banned and which are not. I think its just that they don’t know. Many athletes and weightlifters are not very educated so whatever their coaches give they take that,” she said.

The 21-year-old Hyderabadi said she consults her physiotherapist and doctors before taking any medicine and others too should do the same.

“If I have fever I ask my physio and doctor which medicines can be taken and which are banned. They should be very careful regarding everything,” she said.

(source: zeenews.com)

June 18, 2011

Nadal blocking Murray’s Wimbledon dream

London: Andy Murray is likely to have to overcome the might of defending champion Rafael Nadal if he is to achieve his dream of ending Britain’s long wait for a men’s Wimbledon crown.

The fourth-seeded Scot found himself in Nadal’s side of the draw here Friday as the line-up for the opening round of the men’s singles was confirmed by organisers at Wimbledon.

Second seed Novak Djokovic and six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, seeded three, are on course to meet in the semi-finals after being placed in the opposite side of the draw.

Murray opens against Spanish world number 56 Daniel Gimeno-Traver while Nadal faces American Michael Russell.

Federer opens against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan while Djokovic faces France’s Jeremy Chardy.

However most interest from Friday’s draw surrounded the rematch between American John Isner and France’s Nicolas Mahut in a repeat of their marathon 183-game epic at last year’s championships.

Isner and Mahut slogged their way into the record books last year when their first round duel became the longest match in tennis history, a gruelling 11-hour and five-minute game over three days.

When it was over, Isner had clinched a 6-4 3-6 6-7 (7/9) 7-6 (7/3) 70-68 first-round victory.

Twelve months later and the two journeymen are set to do it all over again when Wimbledon gets under way next week.

Isner is adamant that the records set in last year’s match will never be broken. “It won’t happen again,” he said recently. “Not even come close.”

Meanwhile, since last year’s duel Isner and Mahut have become firm friends.

“Honestly, before Wimbledon, we’d never said one word to each other,” Isner said of Mahut. “Now we text each other quite often and I’ve got to know that he’s a really class act and a really good guy.”

In the women’s side of the draw, returning sisters Venus and Serena Williams were kept apart, raising the possibility of a fifth all-Williams final.

The top three women seeds are Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and Li Na, from China, who became the first Asian player to win a grand slam at this month’s French Open.

Wozniacki opens against Aranxta Parra Satonja from Spain, while Li, who she could meet in the semi-finals, begins against Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva.

Second seed Zvonareva starts against Alison Riske of the United States.

(source: ndtv.com)