Winning smile
12/29/2012 COMMENT comment
Winning smile
By Juhi Baveja
An athlete, dutiful daughter, and a strong-willed individual Saina Nehwal is more than India’s star badminton player. Ranked world number four, this Padma Shri and Khel Ratna award-winner has brought laurels to the country by winning an Olympic Bronze medal at the age of 22. In this fascinating memoir, she talks about her childhood and growing–up years; her relationship with the most important people in her life; the ups and downs of her celebrated career, from district level wins to the Olympics; and the sacrifices needed to succeed in any sport. She also reveals little-known facts and offers a peek into her many avatars – daughter, sister, student, and the regular girl behind the badminton prodigy. In Playing to Win (Penguin), her candid autobiography, we find out what typical day in Saina's life is like – rigorous training, a strict diet, and no parties or sleepovers. "After each title, I set new goals and keep working hard," she maintains. But like every other girl her age, Nehwal loves to shop, eat ice cream (post wins only), and play games on her iPad. With candid photographs and badminton tips from the pro herself, this book showcases the making of a badminton champ her own words. When asked about her motivation to play the high-pressure sport she says,
"Being a player from India defines who I am. When I play, it's for my parents, my coach, and my country."
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