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Coach lost weight in making me World No. 1: Saina Nehwal

Coach lost weight in making me World No. 1: Saina NehwalSaina Nehwal never fails to surprise. In this cricket-crazy country, this young Hyderabadi has done what no other Indian could. On Saturday afternoon, India cheered at the news that Saina has become the numero uno of world badminton. "I can't believe it...," she said in an interview minutes after her semifinal victory at the India Open here in Delhi, which brought her the World No. 1 crown.

While India hailed the new queen, Saina said her focus was on the final (which she later won). "I want to keep doing well," she said. Focused she may be, but Saina knows what she has achieved is no mean feat. And that too at 25 (Saina celebrated her birthday just before the India Open). "It's a great day for me... It's a big day... It's an awesome day... I am the first woman from India to become World No. 1... Wow!" Saina said excitedly.

A few years ago, after three back-to-back tournaments wins that put her in the World No. 3 slot, she had told us, "I am not perfect, but if I can be World No. 3, I can become World No. 1 as well."

But the focus is not on the numbers game for Saina, as she said, "If I stay focused on the game, the other things (rankings) will fall into place." However, it's not been easy for the shuttler. "I was World No. 9 last year. I never thought that in seven months, I would be World No. 1. It has been a difficult journey, but I am glad I have achieved this. Everyone dreams of being World No. 1 - I had that dream too and it has come true."

Saina credits her rise in ranking to coach Vimal Kumar, under whose tutelage she not only overcame her nemesis, the Chinese, but also created history. "The credit for my success goes to Vimal. He has worked very hard to train me. He even lost a lot of weight in the process! Also, Prakash sir's inputs have helped me a lot," she said.

Not many know that the first thing she does after achieving something big is picking up the phone and calling her parents. But Saina couldn't do that after becoming World No. 1. "Papa is busy on the phone. I will speak to him in the night," Saina told us after the semis. Later, after speaking to her parents, she excitedly said, "My mom and dad are very simple people. Today, I am World No. 1, but they are like 'Beta, did you have food?' and other similar questions, but I am sure they are very happy. They don't show it as they believe I can achieve a lot more."

All hail the new Queen of badminton


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