Saina Nehwal, Carolina Marin to fight it out for World No 1 in India Open
In a departure from the norm, it's not going to be the Chinese but Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and All England champion Carolina Marin who will be fighting it out for the numero uno ranking in badminton, in the India Super Series starting next week.
New Delhi: In a departure from the norm, it's not going to be the Chinese but Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and All England champion Carolina Marin who will be fighting it out for the numero uno ranking in badminton, in the India Super Series starting next week.
Both Saina and Carolina will have the opportunity to grab the coveted numero uno status and snap the four-year long Chinese domination when they compete in a strong field at the USD 275,000 India Open starting at the Siri Fort Sports Complex from Tuesday.
The last time a non-chinese achieved the World No. 1 status was in December, 2010 when Denmark's Tine Baun had claimed the honour and it would also be a historic first for both India or Spain as no woman from either country has ever achieved this distinction.
Saina and Carolina tasted success early in the season as the former clinched the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold title defeating the Spaniard in the finals in Lucknow. Carolina, though, avenged the loss by inflicting a painful defeat on the Indian at the prestigious All England summit clash.
Badminton's world ranking takes into account a player's 10 best performances over the past 52 weeks. Currently ranked world No.2 with 74381 points behind China's Li Xuerui (79214 points), Saina has everything in her favour to become the new queen of shuttle sport.
Li, who was runner-up at the last India Open and is not participating this year, will lose 7800 points, dropping her tally to 71414.
Saina participated in 13 tournaments in the last 52 weeks compared to Li's nine. Even if the Indian were to withdraw, her tally would be 74,381, which would catapult her above the Chinese.
However, the girl from Hyderabad will face tough
competition from World Champion Carolina (72098 points), who too can grab the No. 1 ranking if she makes the final of India Open and Saina bows out in the quarterfinals or earlier; or if she wins the event and the Indian fails to make the final.
Even if both the shuttlers reach the final, Saina's No.1 status will be assured.
"This is certainly a most intriguing situation and it underlines the wealth of talent coming through in women's singles in the past season," said BWF Secretary General, Thomas Lund.
"We have a range of very good players who are vying for titles and who are motivated to be the No.1 player in the world. It's a big achievement for any player and this competitiveness is great for our sport."
Saina, who turned 25 last Tuesday, has failed to clinch the India Open since the event collaborated with the World Superseries circuit in 2011.