Saina competing hard to stay in rhythm

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BENGALURU, JAN 11,
Saina Nehwal stated that she is competing hard in the ongoing Premier Badminton League (PBL), despite being only “20 to 30 per cent fit”.
Saina, who is recovering from a shin injury, has not been at her best in the three matches she has played in the PBL so far. The reigning Commonwealth Games champion won against World No. 59 Vu Thi Trang, but lost to two top-10 players in P.V. Sindhu and B. Zhang.
“I injured my shin at the Syed Modi International in November, after which I took a break for four and a half weeks. I only resumed training on 27 or 28 December. It’s not easy to be 20 to 30 per cent fit and play these matches.
“I played against Sindhu after maybe two days of practice — it’s not easy. I tried my level best. I’m happy that I could win one game each against Zhang and Sindhu. That shows that I’m on the right track,” North Eastern Warriors’ star Saina said at a media interaction here.
Saina explained that she needs at least a month to regain full fitness. “In the meantime, I will keep playing matches to stay in rhythm. After the PBL ends, I will compete in the Malaysia Masters and Indonesia Masters. I’ll do my best, and keep up my World rankings,” she said.
Olympic qualification
Saina, like all top-level shuttlers, has the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on her mind. The qualification period for the Olympics takes place between April 29, 2019 and April 26, 2020, so performances during this period are crucial. Saina will have to strike a balance between getting good results and keeping physically fit.
“This is the Olympic qualification year, so the focus will be on doing well in a few tournaments. I cannot try to challenge myself throughout the year. Whatever tournaments I feel are important, I will give my best there,” said Saina.
On her recent marriage to badminton player P. Kashyap, Saina said. “There’s a time for everything, and I thought this is the right time for marriage. Marriage has changed nothing,” she said.

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