Saina definitely a bright medal prospect

“At the Games, Saina shouldn't worry about the Chinese. There is no doubt that they would be tough to beat but at the same time they are definitely not unbeatable as well,” says Prakash Padukone.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

Now in the lead-up to the Olympics, it is important for Saina to have the right mix of major tournaments and training. Neither of it should be overdone. I would suggest at least a four-week training programme. By Prakash Padukone.

Saina's win at the Swiss Open last month was quite significant. She was the holder of the title last year and she would have lost some World Ranking points had she not won the final this time. But importantly, it will have given her a lot of confidence.

We could look critically at her form prior to this win at Basel but personally I would not read too much into all that. At that level, ups and downs are to be expected. The level of competition is very tough and the difference between the top five is marginal.

Now in the lead-up to the Olympics, it is important for Saina to have the right mix of major tournaments and training. Neither of it should be overdone. I would suggest at least a four-week training programme.

But a lot would depend on what each player is comfortable with and what each player is used to. Also, I would think that at this point in time she should focus more on her strengths while continuing regular work on her weaknesses. This is not the time to make drastic changes either in technique or style.

At the Games, Saina shouldn't worry about the Chinese. There is no doubt that they would be tough to beat but at the same time they are definitely not unbeatable as well. She has shown in the past that they can be beaten. She should go with an open mind and not fear any player from any country.

Her chances would all depend on her form in that particular week. A lot would also ride on how she handles the pressure of the Olympics. While no one can predict her chances, Saina is definitely a bright medal prospect for India.

As told to Shreedutta Chidananda