Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal returns to rousing welcome
New Delhi: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal today returned to a rousing reception after winning a historic bronze medal at the Olympic Games in London.
Saina was flanked by her father Harvir Singh, coach Pullela Gopichand and several secuity personnel as she arrived in the national capital early this morning on a British Airways flight.
The 20-year-old showed no signs of a jet lag as she smiled and greeted several cheering fans, who jostled to catch a glimpse of her at the Indira Gandhi International Airport from where she took a connecting flight to her base Hyderabad.
Saina who bagged the bronze medal in London under fortuitous circumstances when her opponent -- world no. 2 Xin Wang -- was leading by a game and 1-0 before withdrawing from the bronze medal contest.
Wang twisted her knee late in the opening game when attempting an acrobatic smash from the rear court.
The Chinese shuttler was unable to continue the contest and the bronze went to Saina who became only the second Indian woman after weightlifter Karnam Malleswari (bronze in 2000 Sydney) to clinch an Olympic medal.
It was also the country`s 10th individual medal since its first - a bronze - in 1952 by wrestler Kashaba Jadhav and its third in the ongoing Olympics after rifle shooter Gagan Narang`s bronze on July 30 and pistol marksman Vijay Kumar`s silver yesterday.
The other badminton players who also landed with Saina were men`s singles quarterfinalist P Kashyap and women`s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Jwala Gutta.
Another coach Edwin Iriawan was also a part of the badminton contingent which returned.