Saina & Co leave for China

New Delhi: The Indian badminton team led by
ace shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap on Monday left for China,
hoping to overcome some tough challenges and replicate their
Commonwealth Games success, in the Asian Games to be held in
Guangzhou from November 12 to 27.

With a CWG gold behind her, Saina will be the cynosure of
all eyes at the Asiad. The Indian ace said that it would be
tough to repeat her performance in China, but she has set her
eyes on the yellow metal.

"Asian Games is much tougher. The competition level in
the Asian Games is very high compared to the Commonwealth
Games. To add to it, the Chinese will be a great challenge in
front of their fans," she said on the sidelines of a
felicitation programme here today.

"But I am quite prepared and will try my best. After CWG,
till now I have seen a lot of improvement in my game. I am
hopeful of a medal, possibly gold, because nothing is
impossible," added the 20-year-old Hyderabadi.

Saina said as less than a month separated the October
3-14 CWG and the Asian Games, she rushed back to training
after the Delhi event.

"The Commonwealth Games and Asian Games were very close
to each other, so I did not waste time and went back to
training as soon as possible. I took only a day`s break after
the Commonwealth Games," said Saina, who formally received the
Rajiv Khel Ratna Award from Sports Minister M S Gill today.

Besides Saina`s gold, India won silver in the mixed team
event, the women`s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini
Ponnappa won gold and Kashyap bagged the bronze medal to make
the Commonwealth Games a highly successful one.

But Kashyap felt replicating the same success in China
would be an arduous task as the competition in Asiad would be
tougher than the World Championship.

"It is tougher than the World Championships and I feel it
is the toughest competition for a shuttler and winning a medal
there would be difficult," Kashyap told reporters before leaving for

"But I had a good stint in the Commonwealth Games and the
Denmark Open and I am confident of a good show. I have trained
very hard and I`m at the best form. I know, on a given day, I
can beat anyone in the world," he added.

The 16-member team sans Chetan Anand -- who pulled out
because of injury -- will also have V Diju, Rupesh Kumar,
Sanave Thomas, Aparna Balan and Aditi Mutatkar.

Arvind Bhat, Gurusaidutt, Akshay Dewalkar, Arun Vishnu,
Trupti Murgunde, Prajakta Sawant and Arundhati Pantawan will
also be in the team.