New Delhi: Her bronze medal in the London Olympics has sent India into a state of frenzy, but her shocking quarterfinal defeat in her maiden appearance at the mega event in Beijing four years ago, still rankles shuttle queen Saina Nehwal.
The 22-year-old Saina earned India its first Olympic medal in badminton when she clinched the bronze at the Wembley Arena in London last week.
"I am very happy that I won a medal but I can`t forget that match (Beijing). It is very diffficult to forget that because I could have reached the semifinals in my first attempt and I lost it. Losing in Beijing was dishearting, it was an easy match but I made it difficult," Saina told PTI today.
Saina had lost in the quarterfinal of the Beijing Games despite enjoying an 11-3 lead against Indonesian Maria Kristin Yulianti. But she made up for that when she was adjudged winner after a knee injury forced world number two Xin Wang of China to forfeit her bronze medal play-off match.
"I wanted to win an Olympic medal at the age of nine. I wanted the feeling of podium, the medal and finally when I got the medal round the neck, I was on the podium and everything was going like I wanted. It was extremely emotional. I started thinking about the last 13 years of my hard work and I started crying," she said.
Asked if she is already thinking about the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Saina said: "Rio is still not in mind, four years is too far off. I am just thinking about the coming tournaments in the next few months. I have to make myself more fitter and stronger.
"It is obviously a dream to play next Olympics. It is not easy to be at the top. I hope that I would be in good shape in the next few years," she said.
Rather, she is more focussed on her immediate targets.
"My immediate targets are China and Japan, but lets see when and how I start training and if I am able to compete, I will give it a try. Hong Kong and Super Series Final are also there but let`s see," she said.
Such has been her urge to triumph in the Olympics, that the thought of winning the prestigious All England and World Championship never crossed her mind.
"My dream was only to win an Olympic medal. It was never All England or World Championship. If God gives me these two titles, I will be very grateful. But that was never in my mind. I want to do well in each and every tournament," she said.
Saina admitted of going through pangs of self-doubts, which she eventually overcame.
"It comes to your mind (fear of losing). Sometimes when you lose a match, you feel my God I have lost the match why should I play. But it is okay, it is part of the sport," she said.
"Sometimes you feel why do u have to train harder and why do u put more effort. It is natural. But I did overcome that and I have such a great system and support around me. I am very lucky to have such a great team around me," she said.