2016 was not a great year by any means for Saina Nehwal. She did not perform well at the Rio Olympics due to nagging injuries, despite heavy expectations from her. The year in itself was mostly lost due to injuries. But Saina being the champion that she is, still had moments of brilliance stored up in her locker.
Ahead of the Olympics, she clinched her second Australian Open title of her career by beating China’s Sun Yu in a thrilling three-game final of the Super Series badminton tournament in Sydney. The 26-year-old from Hyderabad eked out a 11-21 21-14 21-19 over the then World No. 12 Sun in a fighting summit clash that lasted an hour and 11 minutes in Sydney.
This victory came despite the fact that Saina was struggling with various niggling injuries. What would follow was that her body simply could not cope up with the pressure of expectations and would break down. She would struggle throughout the year and would also miss a prolonged period out of the game due to injuries. In her absence, PV Sindhu would go on to take up India’s mantle at the 2016 Rio Olympics, going on to win the silver medal at the Olympics. Sindhu would also emerge as a genuine threat globally, in the game of badminton.