BLOG ABOUT Saina Nehwal: Mittal Champions Trust Tournament

India’s badminton star won a third medal for her country at the London Olympics Saturday, clinching bronze after her opponent, China’s Wang Xin, got injured.

The news was well-received by her family and supporters. “Today is a phenomenal win for Saina. It is a win for badminton in India, it is a win for hard practice,” Harvir Singh, Saina’s father, told news channel NDTV. After the announcement, the President of the Badminton Association of India announced Nehwal will be given a prize of 2.5 million rupees ($45,000).


 Mittal Champions Trust Tournament: Saina Nehwal Blog


POSTED ON: Monday, March 24, 2009

Hello all.

It's the day before the tournament starts and everyone concerned has reached their final stages of preparation. I too have reached this stage. I had my final practice at the courts today and a long treatment in the afternoon. My strokes are feeling good and so is my body. It's all systems go for tomorrow's match.

I play at 16:00 so please come down and support if you are in town I will really appreciate it.

Thank you to my team: My Coach Pullela Gopi Chand, My Assistant Coaches: Atik and Hadi from Indonesia and My Physios Heath Matthews & Kiran. You have all done a great job getting me here and I am looking forward to making you proud.

A special thank you to Miss Manisha Malhotra and Mr Yadav at Mittal Champions Trust. Your support in the last three years has been invaluable. It is very encouraging to know that people like Mr Mittal are prepared to invest in the future of Indian sport. Thank you sir very much.

Well that's it from me in the build up to the India Open. I hope you enjoyed my blogging? Tomorrow will be the first day of my tournament and the tone will change.

I look forward to favourable reports to you all over the next 5 days.

Take care and hope to see you all tomorrow.

Blogs : The Indian Open 2009

Getting Better!

POSTED ON: Monday, March 23, 2009

Hi there.

I hope you had a great weekend and are looking forward to some good badminton during the week?

I enjoyed my day off yesterday and am feeling refreshed and ready to push on this week. To those of you who may be wondering what I would do on my only day off... I am sorry to disappoint you, but I spent most of the day sleeping. So close to a tournament it is very important that I am fully recovered and sleep is part of that recovery. I love having a proper excuse to sleep, it's great!!!

Training went well today. There is a slight breeze blowing in the stadium when the air conditioning is on. This means that the shuttle has a bit of an inconsistent flight when the AC is on and normal flight when off. This is surprisingly common in many competition venues around the world. While many players may not like this phenomenon, I do. It adds an additional dimension of control to the game and breaks the rhythm of many players. The trick is to remember that the conditions are equal for both players and as long as you remain focused and don't let it get on top of you mentally, it's just another component to the game. All said and done I am looking at it from a positive point of view and not the opposite.

A couple of friends visited me during lunch- didn't want to interfer with my training routine, but they figured that I would have to eat lunch. Often I am so focused on training and competition, it's a nice reality check to hear what other people are doing with their lives. One of my friends works on a team of developers whose emphasis is on customizing Salesforce implementations for companies as described here. If you are scratching your head right now wondering what that means, let me say I was in the same boat. My friend, J, explained that is a cloud computing and social enterprise. It is probably best known for its Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) product. Although the company has its own consulting, deployment and training services, my friend works for a company that helps to either implement the Salesforce CMS for a business or customizes an already existing Salesforce CMM that needs refinement or adjustments. According to J, the extremely flexible and scalable Salesforce CRM increases sales and customer satisfaction which is why it has rapidly become the standard for CRM across multiple industries. Are you as out of your depth as I felt. Wow! I suppose if I started talking strategy and technical aspects of badminton to someone who is not part of this sport, they too would feel as overwhelmed as I did regarding this business software. Anyway, it was great seeing friends who support me with their caring and friendship. Perhaps after the competition I will do a bit of online research about Salesforce.

Akhil and I did an explosive lifting and sprint session in the gym this afternoon. Heath says it maintains the strength we've gained, but encourages more speed which is what you want just prior to a competition.

I'm happy with my training and feel my body has responded well. I feel lighter, quicker and more agile and that's what we are looking for. I'm especially happy because I beat Heath 4 sprints to 3 in the shuttle runs at the end of practice. He says I cheated, but the truth is I'm fitter and just out sprinted him. Hee hee.

Well, till tomorrow goodbye and take care.

My Blog Debut : Akhil Kumar

POSTED ON: Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good evening everybody. My name is Akhil Kumar. I am a boxer. I am Saina's friend and a member of the Mittal Champions Trust just like Saina.

I am writing the blog today for Saina because it is her day of rest. Saina, will enjoying reading this blog for sure because i am writing it.

I know Saina is a very talented and hard working athlete. She will make history for India one day. She has a good spirit and is very determined to do well. She has a good coach under Pullela Gopi Chand and good physio in Heath Matthews. I wish her all the best for the India Open this week.

I have enjoyed my training in Hyderabad very much. The facilities where we have been staying are very good. I have not seen such a good badminton academy like this anywhere else in the country.

I have enjoyed the training session with Saina. I have also enjoyed spending time with her and exchanging ideas about our sports.

I had a good day today. I did hard training in the gym in the morning and then went to do some shopping in Chaminar with Heath. We found a very nice man (Mr. Vijay Kumar Shankerlal) who sold us excellent pearls for our mothers and walked around the old city for a few hours.

In the evening we completed the second training session and then went to visit some children in the city who are very keen to play and know about the sport of boxing.

I enjoyed writing this blog and i hope to write some more but only when Saina is resting...!!!

Cheers, Akhil

Hi! I'm back!!

POSTED ON: Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another great day under the belt!
Practiced really hard in the morning and felt like I was making really good contact with the shuttle. My focus and visualisation of my first round match is foremost in my mind. In badminton you get to know the draw weeks in advance so you know who you're playing in the first round and you can prepare mentally for the match. Needless to say I'm preparing...
The Badminton Academy is really starting to get busy. All the final arrangements are falling into place. Gopi really does a great job of managing the academy and running this tournament. It's not an easy job and his phone never stops ringing!!! I have to compliment him an really doing a great job at making sure everything runs smoothly in the tournament but at the same time never missing a beat in my or the other players training at the academy. He's got a great team of coaches under him and things really run smoothly. WELL DONE COACH!!!
Right... enough sucking up to my coach... he's not going to go any easier on me on the court so I don't know why I bother...

After training I came back to the academy for lunch and my usual afternoon sleep.
I joined Heath and Akhil in the gym in the afternoon for my introduction to SAQ (Speed, Agility & Quickness). I think it would better be called CDC (Confusing, Difficult & Challenging)!!! Heath says it's meant to improve my co-ordination, balance and foot work. This in turn has a positive effect on my speed, agility and quickness and this basically makes faster on court. I have to admit as much as it challenged me, I really did feel much lighter on my feet afterwards. The best thing about it though was that it was really easy in effort terms compared to his speed-endurance sessions or cardio workout, but please don't tell him that!!!

I'm really happy about my schedule tomorrow... NOTHING!!! IT”S A REST DAY!!! Yes you read correctly REST!!! It may surprise you to know Gopi and Heath know what this means and how to use it!! Thank heavens!!!

What that means for me is time to focus on recovery so that I'm 100% ready for next week. It's also a chance for me to clear my mind and unwind so I come to work on Monday refreshed and ready to give my best on Wednesday.
Sadly, I will not be blogging tomorrow, but all is not lost as Akhil will fill in for me. I'm really looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

Well that's from my side. Have a great weekend and speak to you again on Monday.

The 3B's

POSTED ON: Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good day to all, ok so today's topic is as Akhil Kumar has called it the 3 Bs (Badminton, Boxing and Blogging) not that it is anything new. As the day's to the tournament near we are starting to taper my endurance work and today was the last of those workouts for which I am happy now it is time to start getting into tournament' mode which I think somehow I am so used to now that it comes naturally to me. I am glad that I have been able to popularize badminton in the country and really get peoples attention but I am very clear that my goals are still far away and it is important for me to keep working towards being #1 and keep working hard.

So last evenings fitness session was boxing sparring with Akhil Kumar, I would like to state right off the bat I failed miserably I thought I was doing pretty well until Akhil put his hands behind his back and told me to hit him (I have a feeling he has tried that on a lot of people) and I couldn't. Even disheartening is an understatement and I now know that I have to improve my left hook and right upper cut. Can't actually wait till I have to play him in Badminton now that is going to be a real PAYBACK!!!!!

I am glad all are enjoying the blog and getting a glimpse into the insane minds of athletes, but this is definitely a topic where even I have surpassed even my own expectations and it has definitely been fun. I overheard one of the reporters ask Akhil when he was going to be blogging next and I really can't wait to read his side of the story... hahaha!!! I am sure I am better than him in that department so basically I dominate in 2 of the 3 times...YAY!!!!

That's all for today, tomorrow is a day where I am going to be doing SAQ work for the uninitiated that stands for Speed, Agility and Quickness. I actually love those workouts and it will be fun doing it with Heath, who would have all his toys out and try and test me on them.
Until my next blog. Ciao!

Day 3 of my blog...

POSTED ON: Friday, March 20, 2009

Today was a tough day of training. It started with a 3 hour badminton training session in the morning. I was put through my paces by the coaches and really made to work hard. It was a good session and I really felt like i was hitting the shuttle correctly, but man was I tried by the end!
Heath was milling around the court clicking away on his fancy new camera his girlfriend had bought him as a birthday present. He couldn't understand where these shuttles where coming from all the time. As soon as he would lift the camera to take a picture a shuttle would land at his feet or on his ankles. After 5 minutes at laughing at how clueless he was I quietly told him that Kashyap was hitting them at him from the other court when he turned his back. He smiled slyly and plotted how to get him back. Needless to say as the next shuttle landed at his feet he raced off in Kashyap's direction to exact his revenge.

After training I headed home, had a shower and something to eat before catching a quick 1hr sleep. It is very important to rest in the middle of the day for a short while. This allows your body to recover so you can work hard again in the afternoon. I would need all the rest I could as I had a grueling cardio session with Heath in the afternoon.

PM training went well. Heath strapped me to a treadmill and pushed start. I ran and ran and ran till I thought my legs where going to fall off! I ended up covering 12kms in an hour. Not bad but I know Heath has more in store for me during the week.

Akhil was also the victim of the physioterrorist's whims. He pounded a cross trainer, then the rowing machine and then over 30mins of shadow boxing...! I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps Mr. Kumar may give me a run for my money in the fitness department...

After training the three of us stretch and then gave a few interviews to some local TV channels before going our separate ways for the evening.

Tomorrow we start the whole cycle again. Heath says that Akhil is going to do some sparing with me in the afternoon. I'm a huge fan of boxing and kick boxing and used it before to cross train. I'm really glad I have the best boxer in India to spar with tomorrow! I'm going to pound those punching pads into oblivion tomorrow!!!

Well that's all from me. Till tomorrow. Ciao.

Training hard...

POSTED ON: Thursday, March 19, 2009

So it is day 2 of my blog and I have to admit that it is actually fun to let the world have a glimpse to things I do and how things actually work in the badminton world, and more importantly in my world. Each day I am one day nearer to competition and in a couple of days I will go into match mode but today was another training day.

I trained with my coach and the rest of the Indian team for 3 hours this morning. It is actually very motivating to have the whole team to train especially since we are used to training by ourselves.

This afternoon I have a 70 minute run scheduled. The funny thing about badminton unlike other sports is that we actually lose fitness during tournaments. So when we return from a couple of weeks of tournaments we actually have to get some fitness back. However I have been working with Heath Matthews who is the fitness trainer and physiotherapist of the Mittal Champions Trust. He has really helped me get to a whole new level of fitness which I really didn't think I could have achieved and now as you guys know, the boxer Akhil Kumar is also here training with Heath.

So after a couple of days of observation Akhil feels like he should take up badminton because it is easy and you really don't need that much fitness. In his words "hum log to maar khate rahte hain, yeh to bahut asaan hai" so I am going to challenge him to game of badminton and then tell him to put his money where his mouth is... that is of course on the condition that he doesn't in turn make me having a boxing match with him...

So I am now off to rest a little before I hit the gym… More tomorrow so keep tuned.

A Shuttler's Thoughts!

POSTED ON: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A few days ago it was my birthday. A normal girl of 19 would have a party, go out with friends or at least catch a movie or a dinner in a restaurant of her choice. I sweated the usual gallon on court. From the outside such a life may appear to be strange to normal people. Others may wonder just when do I have fun. It's difficult to convey but fun for me right now is actually sweat, sweat and some more sweat.

For, each sportsperson experiences a unique high that can only come from pushing ones limits repeatedly and finding out that there are actually no boundaries. Even if one day I reach the limit of developing physical capabilities, staying at the peak of fitness will require continued adherence to the regime of sweat. Frankly, I don't mind it a bit. In fact, I thrive in it.