New Delhi: India's ace women badminton player Saina Nehwal is very skillful and has the potential to win a medal at this year's London Olympics provided she continues to work hard, feels World number one male shuttler Lee Chong Wei. (Agencies)
"The ultimate goal of playing in a competition is winning, it is a desire of bravely pursuing the victory. Whoever is well prepared, the chance to win is ready. She's (Saina) young and has a strong skill, she has every potential to win if she continues her good work," Lee said.
The two-time All England champion, Lee has been leading the world ranking for quite sometime and the Malaysian credited his hard work for his dominance in the men's arena.
"In order to be the world no. 1, I had to wake up every day at 5 am to train. Running, game techniques and footwork practices, physical training etc. It is a result that I have gained by working hard every day," he said.
The 29-year-old will be in the capital for the Yonex Sunrise India Open Super Series -- the last qualifying tournament for the London Olympics -- and the defending champion said he was looking forward to the event.
"Each competition is equally significant to me. It is upto the player to examine himself and his skills. Therefore, I play with my utmost. I have full confidence on myself. I strive to keep up a good condition, to every player, moving forward is to win. It is the final goal," he said.
Inpite of his dominance in the men's circuit for quite sometime now, a World title and gold medal at the Olympics has still eluded Lee.
The 2008 Beijing silver medallist said the path to an Olympic gold is not easy and he is training "zealously" to achieve that glory.
"To me, or to an athlete, Olympic is an extraordinary important tournament, but competition is always cruel, only one winner can be at the pinnacle, but even the greatest hero can be defeated, nobody can stand on it forever," he said.
"My path to become the champion in the 2012 London Olympics is definitely not an easy one. As professional players, we are always training zealously, to the extent of forsaking personal time, to pursue victories in all competitions. Everything that we do, we do it to win. If we dare to win, we should also dare to lose," Lee added.
Asked if he feels the pressure of expectations, Lee said: "Yes, it does. Representing my country on world-class competition, the London 2012 Olympics, to get the gold medal is not solely about personal glory, I need to reach everyone's expectation.
"Transform the pressure into a source of motivation, it is a powerful impetus to help me move on. Whether it is a heavy burden or a powerful motivation, it all depends on your thought and point of view," he added.
Former World and Olympic champion, Taufik Hidayat will also participate in the Yonex Sunrise India Open and the Indonesian said he was excited to be back in India.
"It's always been fun playing in India, the crowd is very supportive and always gives me a warm welcome. Yonex has made such a huge contribution to badminton in India. I love seeing how badminton is now becoming one of the most popular sports in India," said Taufik, who won the Indonesian Open six times.
The world number 12 will look to seal his Olympics berth at the India Open and said the pressure will act as a motivational factor for him.
"Pressure is what keeps me going. Pressure motivates me to be better," said the 30-year-old.
Asked about the status of badminton in Indonesia, Taufik said the sport is struggling to regain its lost glory.
"In my opinion, badminton condition in Indonesia is struggling to reach back to its golden moment. However, many strategies have been developed to prepare the next generation. Hopefully, even though we are moving in a slow progression, eventually we will bounce back," he said.
New Delhi: India's ace women badminton player Saina Nehwal is very skillful and has the potential to win a medal at this year's London Olympics provided she continues to work hard, feels World number one male shuttler Lee Chong Wei.