Interview: Saina Nehwal
We sit down with current world number-one
ranking badminton player, Saina Nehwal, who was recently in town for the Shuttle Time School Championships, to
talk about the sports scene in Dubai and what she loves most about the emirate.
We talk all things Dubai with Indian badminton player, Saina NehwalWe talk all things Dubai with Indian badminton player, Saina Nehwal
The badminton star talks Dubai
We sit down with current world number-one ranking badminton player, Saina Nehwal, to talk about the sports scene in Dubai and what she loves most about the emirate.
You visited Dubai last year and made it to the semi-finals of the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals in December. How was the experience?
It was great, actually. I used to fly and play in various parts of the world and I used to wonder why there weren’t that many tournaments happening in Dubai. It was really surprising to see Dubai hosting the Superseries Finals last year. I lost in the semi-finals, but I know I tried my best and I got amazing support from the Indian crowd here and that’s one of the reasons why Dubai is my favourite city to play in. I’m hoping that this year I’ll get even more support as last year was fantastic - I really loved that.
A young number-one Indian badminton player involved in a school tournament must have great influence on school students. What is your advice for the next generation of sports stars?
There are kids who are getting into different sports and then there are the kids who are getting their inspiration from sportswomen such as myself, [tennis star] Sania Mirza and [boxer] Mary Kom. I visited Dubai recently for the Shuttle Time School Championships and I can see that Dubai is a hub for growing talent, especially the Indian players, who are playing extremely well. I didn’t expect to see them master the game in such a short frame of time.
What do you think of Dubai’s sporting facilties such as Hamdan Sports Complex?
Hamdan Sports Complex is really, one of the best stadiums in the world. It’s a world-class arena. Looking at the way world sports tournaments are being organised here in Dubai, I can definitely see more of them happening on a grand scale, the way it’s meant to be. Not just for badminton, but for [other sports like] tennis and swimming as well.
What do you like the most about Dubai?
It’s rare that I get to see a lot of Dubai when I’m here because of either the tournaments or my schedule. This time, however I did manage to visit a few places around the city. I went to the beach, visited the Burj Khalifa and I’m staying at Al Qasr, which is a gorgeous hotel with an excellent view. I hear so much about Dubai, but there’s nothing like going out and exploring the city for yourself and I’m glad to have seen most of it.
Dubai is developing a reputation for great food. What has been your most memorable foodie experience in Dubai?
Being an Indian, you’re always going to long for Indian food and there’s plenty of that here! While I didn’t have the chance to try some more diverse cuisine here, I was treated to some lovely seafood at Al Qasr. I dined on fish and it was extremely nice, but again, my preference stays with eating Indian food - especially during tournaments. I really don’t try too many new things because, as a player, you have to be really careful of your diet. I’m conscious of that, so I stick to what I know best.
Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing