Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu have played an integral part in putting India on the world badminton map. Even more so than Sindhu, Saina has single-handedly carried the India flag for some time with her incredible performances, winning major titles over the past few years.
Despite they bringing laurels to India, former South Korean shuttler Park Joo Bong believes none of the India women shuttlers, including Saina, are skilful.
"None of the Indian women's singles players are skilful. They don't rank among the top four when it comes to skill. Saina doesn't have the skill but she relies a lot on power and speed. Sindhu has some problems with her movement on the court," The Times of India quoted Bong as saying.
Though everyone is entitled to their opinion, Bong's comments on Sania do not seem fair. Saina, currently ranked world number 2, has won a number of titles in the past including the Indonesian Open, India Open, Swiss Open, Thailand Open and China Open, which cannot be achieved without skills.
However, Saina has been troubled of late with her injuries, which led to some below-par performances late last year, but that does not necessarily translate to lack of skills as well.
As a matter of fact, Saina was one of the first women players in the circuit to challenge Chinese shuttlers, who were dominating world badminton.
Bong considers shuttlers from China the best in the business. China has the maximum number of players (three) in the top 10. Li Xuerui, Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian are the top-ranked Chinese players. Xuerui, ranked third, is favourite for Olympic gold, feels Bong.
"The Chinese may have suffered some setbacks but they are still the best. In women's singles, many are catching up. But I still think an injury-free Li Xuerui is a clear favourite for Olympics in women's singles. Wang Yihan too is dangerous but erratic. Current world champion Carolina Marin is very talented, but she should control herself. Once she gets agitated, she becomes very angry and makes mistakes," Bong said.
Despite referring to Indian shuttlers as non-skilful, Bong had some good words for PV Sindhu, who has defeated some top shuttlers with her aggressive game.
"When she is in full flow, Sindhu plays the best attacking game, even better than Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan. She has a good height and uses it well to smash the shuttle hard," Bong said.