• Badminton superstar Saina Nehwal becomes first Indian to be ranked world number one after winning Yonex-Sunrise India Open
• Nehwal to make a special visit to Dubai in April for official launch of the 2015 Shuttle Time Dubai Schools Championships
Badminton fever will hit Dubai again in just a few weeks’ time with Indian superstar and new world number one Saina Nehwal heading to our shores. Nehwal, who made history this week by becoming the first Indian player to take the top spot in the rankings and by being the first Indian to win the Yonex-Sunrise India Open, will delight hundreds of young shuttlers in Dubai when she launches the 2015 Shuttle Time Dubai Schools Championships on 29 April.
Nehwal, the crowd favourite who made it through to the semi-finals at the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals in December last year, said “I’m really looking forward to visiting Dubai again, I had such a great time there last year. My trip to Dubai is for a school programme. If I can share some of my experiences with the kids, I can promote badminton, and that will surely lead to good results, inspiring more kids to take up the sport.”
Nehwal’s victory in the India Open also sees her move to the top of the leader board in the qualification race for the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals which will be held in Dubai again this year, from 9-13 December, and after winning the second of the twelve qualifying events the Indian champion has another trip to the Dubai Finals clearly in her sights.
“Dubai was one of the best experiences of my career. The tournament turned out extremely well. It’s really a different destination because we’re used to playing in Asian countries, but not in a place like Dubai. It’s a beautiful city, and many of us looked forward to playing there because there are a lot of Indians and people of other nationalities.
“Everything was so well planned. The lighting, the stadium, and of course the support I got. It was almost like a home event. It was so much fun. There was a good crowd during the event last year. I would say it is the perfect venue. It has a great future.
“I’ve begun this season well. Of course the next Dubai event is a long way off but I hope to be there.”
While in Dubai Nehwal will also tour a number of the world class sporting venues in the city, before meeting fans at an autograph session. Details of her schedule will be released closer to her visit.
And in a great result for India in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open, Nehwal’s countryman Kidambi Srikanth made it a double victory on Sunday when he took the men’s singles title with a hard fought victory over Viktor Axelson of Denmark.
21 year old Srikanth showed his promise in the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals in Dubai last year when he made it through to the semi-finals before going down to eventual winner Chen Long. Srikanth’s victory in the India Open also puts him back in the running for Dubai after he bowed out of the All England Championships in the first round.
“The BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals was amazing. It was perfect, they organised everything really well. The support from fans was great. Obviously it’s a tournament I would want to go back to. I have been playing well over the last few months. If I continue to do well, I will be able to qualify. I don’t look too far ahead; I just take it point by point and match by match” said Srikanth.
Only the eight top-ranked players from the Destination Dubai Rankings in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles will earn a place in the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals to be held at the Hamdan Sports Complex in December, which sees them compete for a share of a US$1million prize pool. To qualify for Dubai the players have to amass points from 12 MetLife BWF World Superseries Tournaments held around the world throughout the year.
The next BWF Metlife World Superseries event is the Maybank Malaysia Open which commenced yesterday and concludes on 5 April.