India's Nehwal will be badminton's new number one

Olympic bronze medalist is the first female from the country to reach the top of the rankings.

    Nehwal won bronze at the 2012 London Games [Getty Images]
    Nehwal won bronze at the 2012 London Games [Getty Images]

    Saina Nehwal will become the first Indian female badminton player to reach the number one ranking when the new list is released on Thursday.

    Nehwal, the 2012 London Olympics bronze medalist, was able to claim top ranking after the All England Badminton champion Carolina Marin lost to Ratchanok Intanon in the first semi-final of the India Open Super Series badminton tournament on Saturday.

    It's not about the ranking, it's about being consistent.

    Saina Nehwal, India's badminton player

    Although the official rankings will be out on Thursday, Nehwal has been assured of the top spot following Marin's loss.

    "I want to be the best," Nehwal said before her top ranking was confirmed.

    "It's not about the ranking, it's about being consistent. Li Xuerui is injured. You can't ignore the fact that she's the best player in the world, but she's been injured over the last few months.

    "When she comes back she will be strong. The Chinese will come back and they will be ready for us."

    Nehwal is also on course to win her maiden India Open crown after reaching the last-four for the first time, beating Indonesia's Hana Ramadhini 21-15, 21-12.

    Nehwal plays Japan's Yui Hashimoto in the second semi-final.

    The Indian star has won 14 international titles in her career. Her latest feat was becoming the first Indian woman to reach the final of the All England Championships in Manchester.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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