New Delhi: Star player Saina Nehwal has gained a place to be fifth in the latest Badminton World Federation women’s singles rankings released here on Thursday.
Saina improved her ranking, riding on her back-to-back quarter-final appearances at Denmark and French Open tournaments this month.
In both the events, she lost to World No. 2 Chinese Shixian Wang. Saina’s compatriot P V Sindhu maintained her No.10 position despite losing in the first round of French Open.
Parupalli Kashyap has made it back to the men’s singles top-20 at 17th spot by climbing up four places after a decent show in the last two tournaments.
While he made the semi-finals of Denmark Open, he lost in the quarter-finals of French Open. Kidambi Srikanth retained his position as the top ranked Indian male shuttler at number 16.
Indian women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa have also re-entered the top-20 at No. 20 after earning two places. There is no Indian in the top-25 of either men’s and mixed doubles.
In the wake of Sports Ministry’s diktat of not to extend financial help to athletes who prefer professional commitment over representing India, Saina insisted her first priority would always be to play for the country.
“I don’t think anyone would not want play for the country. Everyone would want to play for the country.
Sometimes you can’t ignore that there is injury or a player goes through some difficult situation. Otherwise, I am sure everyone would want to play for the country and for the pride of the nation,” said Saina on the sidelines of an event organised by USHA at the Delhi Golf Club here.
The Ministry’s diktat came after top tennis players like men’s number one Somdev Devvarman, veteran Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna refused to participate in the Incheon Asian Games, citing loss of rankings points on the ATP circuit.
Asked how difficult it is to balance playing for the country and prize money events, the London Olympic bronze medallist said, “In the prize money event also you are not going there just as a player. You play at the state level, then national level and finally you reach the international level. So at that level, you only play for the country. It is not about prize money or medal, it is only about your country.”