Saina targets All England to get back into groove after injury

Last Updated: Feb 06, 2011, 09:54 AM IST

Mumbai: Saina Nehwal has targeted the weeks
leading up to next month`s Yonex All England Badminton
Championships in Birmingham to get back to her prime form for
the 2011 season after an ankle injury reduced her
effectiveness on the court.

"I am targeting the weeks before the All England
Championships to become fully fit. My ankle is still strapped
and I`m not fully fit now though I feel much better than
before," said the ace shuttler here last evening after being
felicitated at a function on the Bombay Gymkhana lawns.

The All England Championships are to be held from March
8-13 and the world No 5 will be up against the cream of women
shuttlers from around the globe, including top Chinese rivals,
to prove her mettle.

Saina`s progress late last year, after she won three
successive Super Series titles and the gold medal in the Delhi
Commonwealth Games, got stymied when she suffered an injury
after the Guangzhou Asian Games and it showed when she played
in the Korean Open.

"I was not fully fit in the Korean Open. I missed five
weeks of training and had just one week to practice. My ankle
is still strapped and it will take me some more time to become
fully fit," she said.

The Hisar-born, Hyderabad-based Saina, who has slid down
from No 2 in December to her current ranking, lost to Japan`s
Sayaka Sato in three games in the Korean Open in the last week
of January.

"After the All England I will be playing in the Swiss
Open. My focus in 2011, which is a crucial year, will be to
win as many tournaments as possible and another major event I
am targeting is the world championships (Aug 8-14 in London),"
Saina said.

The 21-year-old said this year, because of the change
in the rules by the world body BWF, the top Chinese players
would have to play a number of tournaments.

"I would like to play them as much as possible and the
change in rules would see them play in a lot of tournaments."

About her other big goal, getting a medal in next year`s
London Olympic Games, Saina said it was quite far away to get
her to focus on it currently.

"I want to be fully fit and not get injured. But injuries
do happen if you are playing," she said.

PTI