Badminton star and ace shuttler Saina Nehwal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday.
Nehwal said it’s a big day for her. “I have always admired hard-working people like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I am thankful to the BJP for giving me this opportunity,” the badminton star said.
“I am looking forward to my new responsibility,” she added. Nehwal’s elder sister Chandranshu also joined the party.
Saina Nehwal was inducted into the BJP by party’s national general secretary Arun Singh, who said India is proud of Nehal who brought laurels for the country.
“She won bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics. It was the first time that an Indian won an Olympic medal in badminton. She has also won gold medal in Commonwealth Games,” said Singh.
Nehwal and her sister later met BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda.
Nehwal was the catalyst of India’s badminton revolution as she made a splash in international tournaments, from a young age, under the tutelage of coach Pullela Gopichand. She has several firsts to her name. Apart from becoming the first Indian shuttler to win Super Series tournaments, Saina lit up the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi by winning the gold medal in women’s singles.
She went on to bring more laurels by becoming India’s first-ever Olympic medallist in the sport of badminton, grabbing a bronze in the 2012 London Games. Then came the biggest high of her career as she reached the top of the badminton rankings, the first Indian shuttler to become world No 1.
Injuries took a toll on her career but she returned stronger and became the first Indian to reach the final of the BWF World Championships, finishing with a silver in 2015 and followed it up with a bronze in 2017.
At a time when compatriot PV Sindhu was ruling the roost, Nehwal reminded everyone of her prowess by upstaging her rival to win the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia. With 10 Super Series titles to her name, Nehwal is fourth in the all-time list of women’s singles champs who have won the prestigious events.
Along with her badminton feats she has also been honoured by the Indian government over the years. She has been a recipient of the Arjuna Award (2009), Padma Shri (2010), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2009-10) and Padma Bhushan (2016).
She married fellow shuttler Parupalli Kashyap in 2018 in Hyderabad.
Last year, a number of sportspersons including cricketer Gautam Gambhir and wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Phogat had joined the BJP.
While Dutt had joined the BJP on September 26, along with former captain of India hockey team Sandeep Singh, Phogat, also a fellow Olympic medallist, had joined the party on August 12 last year.