Saina apologises for remarks over CWG

Hyderabad: India’s ace shuttler and a brand ambassador for Commonwealth Games Saina Nehwal on Saturday created a flutter by questioning the country’s capability of holding such a mega event but retracted her controversial statement within moments.

Saina first said that she really doubts whether Delhi was capable of holding the event and the preparations were “not upto the mark” but made a prompt volte face by changing her version.

“Looking at the stadiums and looking at the progress, I don’t really think we are capable of holding such big tournaments because you know, I have seen many Games like the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (in 2006) and Olympic Games in Beijing (in 2008).

“Compared to that its not upto the mark,” Saina told reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy here.

But the ace Hyderabad shuttler soon apologised for the statement and hoped the quadrennial multi-sport event will be a huge success.

“I did not mean that way and I am really sorry for that statement. I think, it was presented in a wrong way. I am sure that everything will be right when I come there. The Games will be successful and one of the biggest tournaments,” Saina said.

“I am one of the good sportspersons today and really want to do well in front of my home crowd. I am really proud that the Games is being held in India and I am one of the sportspersons playing in it. We are holding the event because we can do it,” Saina added.

Saina, who won this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, was all praise for the Games’ badminton venue at the Siri Fort Sports Complex, where Asian Championships was held as a test event in April.

“The Badminton stadium is excellent. I really enjoyed playing there during the Asian Championships. I hope to do well again during the Commonwealth Games in October and want to win medals to make the people proud,” said Saina, who is currently world number three.

“Many people follow me and its not a good thing on my part, as a player also it impacts. Now I just want to focus on my Games,” Saina said.

Meanwhile, chief national coach Gopichand also said that organising a successful Commonwealth Games should not be a problem for India.

“Considering the capabilities of India, I don’t think that its a problem to conduct the event. As far as the Indian shuttlers are concerned they are preparing well for the Games and will get to the venue when it is ready,” he said.

“Till then we are concentrating on the game only and not thinking about the controversy,” he added.

Saina said that she is eyeing medals in the Delhi Games and leaving no stones unturned to achieve the target.

“I am focussing on my game, lets see what happens finally. We still have four weeks before the Games and I am preparing to do well in Commonwealth Games. This time it is taking place in India and so I will be preparing harder. I have to win some medals,” she said.

“I just want to do well and make the people proud by winning medals in the Games. I am sure that all the Indians from different fields will also put up their best efforts to fetch honour,” she added.

Earlier, the CWG Organising Committee refused to comment on the Saina’s controversial statement.

“I have no comments to make,” CWG OC Secretary General Lalit Bhanot said.

The Delhi Games has been hit by a series of corruption allegations, construction delays and star pull outs, leading to a negative publicity for the October 3-14 event.