Saina Nehwal is an Indian badminton player who has received more than 20 international titles. She is also the first Indian woman to achieve world rank one by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). By the year 2017, she is the only Indian to win a medal in all three BWF major individual events- the Olympics, the BWF World Junior Championships, and the BWF World Championships. Let’s have a look at her personal and professional life.
Saina Nehwal was born on 17 March 1990 in Hisar, Haryana, India. Her family currently resides in Hyderabad, India. She is also known by the name Steffi Saina by her mother who is a big fan of the tennis player Steffi Graff. When she was five years old, her family moved from Haryana to Hyderabad because of her father’s job. She started playing badminton to fulfill the dream of her mother who wanted her to become a national level badminton player. She achieved huge success in her badminton career and was honoured with four prestigious awards by the government of India like Arjuna Award in 2009, Padma Shri in 2010, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2010, and Padma Bhushan in 2016. She is looking forward to open a badminton academy in Haryana.
She is the most talented, hardworking, and good-looking Indian girl with athletic figure. She is approximately 5′ 6″ tall and weighs around 65 kg. She has brown eyes and black hair.
Family, Caste & Boyfriend
Saina was born in a middle-class Hindu Jat family to Harvir Singh Nehwal (Scientist) and Usha Nehwal. Her parents are former badminton champions in Haryana. She has an elder sister, Abu Chandranshu Nehwal, who used to play volleyball.
Saina Nehwal tied the knot with her long-time boyfriend cum badminton player Parupalli Kashyap on 14 December 2018 in Hyderabad.
She did her schooling from Campus School, CCS HAU, Hisar; Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Public School, Hyderabad; National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) School, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad; and St. Ann’s College for Women, Hyderabad.
At the age of 8, Saina Nehwal started playing badminton and got trained in badminton under the guidance of an Indian badminton coach S. M. Arif. She also received training from Pullela Gopichand, Nani Prasad Rao, and Vimal Kumar.
She made her international debut in 2005 with the Asian Badminton Satellite tournament. Since then, she won numerous titles as a badminton player both nationally and internationally. In 2016 & 2017, she has suffered from some injuries but recovered soon and won numerous tournaments. During her badminton career, Saina received various medals from the Asian Games, the Asian Championships, the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships, and the Olympics tournaments.
Saina Nehwal entered into active politics on 29 January 2020, when she joined the BJP in the mid of the campaigns of the Delhi Assembly elections. After joining the party, Nehwal said,
I draw a lot of inspiration from Narendra sir. I have won medals for the country. I am a very hardworking and I love hardworking persons. I can see Prime Minister Narendra Modi does so much for the country, I want to do something for the country with him.”
In January 2022, Saina and Tamil actor Siddharth had a war of words on Twitter over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach in Punjab. Siddharth attracted controversy after he used some derogatory words to reply to Saina Nehwal’s tweet about Prime Minister’s security breach.
Later, Rekha Sharma, the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, demanded action against Siddharth and said that his Twitter account should get banned.
Following a huge uproar on social media, the actor apologized to Saina Nehwal through a letter that he shared on Twitter on 11 January 2022.
- In 2006, she became the first player to win the Asian Satellite Badminton tournament twice.
- In 2006, she became the first Indian woman and youngest Asian player to win a 4-star Philippines Open tournament.
- In 2008, she became the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships.
- In 2008, she became the first Indian woman to reach the quarter finals at the Olympic Games.
- In 2009, she became the first Indian to win the title of BWF Super Series.
- In 2010, she became the first Indian woman to reach the semi finals of 2010 All-England Super Series.
- In 2011, she became the first Indian singles player to reach the final of the BWF Super Series Masters Finals.
- In 2014, she became the first Indian woman to win the China Open Super Series Premier.
- In 2015, she became the first Indian woman badminton player to reach the finals of the All England Open Badminton Championships.
- In 2015, she became the first Indian woman badminton player to be ranked world number one in the Badminton World Federation in Women’s Singles.
- In 2018, she became the first Indian woman badminton player to win the Asian badminton medal for India at the Asian Games.
Awards & Achievements
In her badminton career, Saina Nehwal achieved huge success and won numerous titles and awards. Here are some of them:
- Bronze Medal at Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
- Won a four-star badminton Philippines Open tournament at Pasig City, Manila
- Won the Philippines Open Grand Prix
Gold Medal at National Games in Guwahati
- Won the Chinese Taipei Open Grand Prix Gold
- Won the World Junior Badminton Championships tournament in Pune
- Most Promising Player of the Year Award by Badminton World Federation (BWF)
- Won the Indonesia Open tournament at Jakarta
- Arjuna Award
- Won the Singapore Open Super Series in Lion City
- Won the Yonex Sunrise Indian Open tournament in Chennai
- Bronze Medal at Asian Badminton Championships in New Delhi
- Won the India Open Grand Prix
- Silver Medal in Mixed Team Event at Commonwealth Games in Delhi
- Gold Medal at Commonwealth Games in Delhi
- Won the Hong Kong Open Badminton Super Series
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
- Padma Shri Award
Won the Swiss Open tournament in Basel
- Won the Swiss Open tournament in Basel
- Won the Indonesia Super Series in Jakarta
- Bronze Medal at London Olympics in Women’s Singles
- Won the Denmark Open Super Series in Odense
- An honorary doctorate degree by Mangalayatan University
- Bronze Medal at Asian Games
- Won the Australian Badminton Open Super Series
- Won the China Super Series Premier
- Won the India Super Series in New Delhi
- Silver Medal at World Championships in Jakarta
- Won the Australian Badminton Open Super Series in Sydney
- An honorary doctorate degree in literature by SRM University
- Padma Bhushan Award
- Won the Malaysia Masters tournament
- Bronze Medal at World Badminton Championships in Glasgow
- Gold Medal at Commonwealth Games in Women’s Singles
- Gold Medal in badminton mixed team event at Commonwealth Games
- Bronze Medal at Asian Badminton Championships
- Saina Nehwal has a brown belt in Karate.
- Sachin Tendulkar gifted her BMW after she won the Olympics gold medal in 2012.
- She is a huge fan of Roger Federer and Sachin Tendulkar.
- She is a philanthropist and was ranked 18th on the most charitable athletes’ list.
- Saina Nehwal is also a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes Commission.
- She has endorsed various popular brands like Edelweiss Group, Fortune Cooking Oil, Emami, Vaseline, Godrej No Marks, Huawei Honor Smartphone, Star Sports, NECC, Indian Overseas Bank, Herbalife Nutrition, Yonex, Iodex, Sahara Group, Top Ramen Noodles, etc.
- In 2012, her autobiography Playing to Win: My Life On and Off Court was released.
- In the same year, Saina signed a deal of endorsement worth ₹400 million with the famous sports management company Rhiti Sports but in 2013, she ended the deal with this company and signed with KWAN Entertainment & Marketing Solutions.
- She made her guest appearance on several famous TV shows like Satyamev Jayate, Comedy Nights with Kapil, and The Kapil Sharma Show.
- She has also appeared on the cover of several popular magazines like Femina, Women’s Health, etc.
- A Not for Profit company Olympic Gold Quest supported her.
- At Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University in Hisar; Saina Nehwal Institute of Agricultural Technology, Training & Education is named after her.
- Shah Rukh Khan and Mahesh Babu are her all-time favourite actors.
- Saina Nehwal loves travelling and Singapore is her favourite destination.
- She likes to eat Kiwi and Aloo Paratha.
- She is a dog lover.
- In November 2023, Saina and Parupalli added a Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 to their car collection.