Nozomi confident of doing well in Olympics

The 20-year-old, who shocked some of the fancied players in the Dubai WBF Super Series last year before clinching the title, says that she is confident of doing well in the Olympics.

Nozomi Okuhara is one of the strongest players in the world today and is capable of giving the Chinese a run for their money.   -  Nagara Gopal

Nozomi Okuhara of Japan is clearly one of the strongest players who can challenge the formidable ‘Chinese Wall’ in the world of badminton.Unsurprisingly, she is determined to ensure that her maiden appearance in the Olympics – the Rio Games this year – will be a memorable one. The 20-year-old, who shocked some of the fancied players in the Dubai WBF Super Series last year before clinching the title, says that she is confident of doing well in the Olympics.

Nozomi, who is participating in the Badminton Asia Team Championship here, said that she took to badminton thanks to her father and brother. She said that there is very little to choose between the top five players in the world when it comes to the Olympics. Picking three players – Carolina Marin, Wang Yihan and Li Xuerui – Nozomi said that they will pose a great challenge to her in the Olympics. “All of them are of the same level and good on their day, capable of beating anyone,” she said.

“Honestly, I never expected to win the Dubai Super Series final. I just went out there and enjoyed the tournament. But I am glad that I could win the prestigious year-ending event,” remarked the player, who is now ranked No. 8 in the world.

Among the Indian players, Nozomi was of the view that Saina Nehwal is more dangerous because of her “experience and class”. “But, I must tell you that the big smashes from P. V. Sindhu, coming from such height, are very difficult to handle,” the Japanese added.

Nozomi, who has been playing badminton from the age of seven, said that she is confident of beating these two Indian shuttlers if the playing conditions are better. “I fear no one and I just want to go out and enjoy,” she said.