Twist of fate for Saina Nehwal

first_imgHail Saina Nehwal, the brand new Olympic bronze medallist at the London Olympics. Agreed, the Indian badminton queen did not play her best, but luck smiled on her as opponent Wang Xin from China hobbled off the court because of a knee injury.Sport is about victory and celebrations or losses and tears. On Saturday, it was Saina’s chance to flash that million-watt smile as she wore the bronze medal around her neck after the unfinished play-off.”I told my dad I was sorry I couldn’t win gold but at least I have a bronze medal. I just can believe it,” said Saina at the press conference.Having backpedalled right through the brief contest, when Xin used amazing variety to trouble Saina, the Indian was clueless as to what to do.As the first game was drawing to a close, there was sudden drama. Xin fell on the ground and was in pain at the score of 20-18. She took a medical timeout and resumed play. But in a matter of minutes, after winning one point in the second game, the lefthanded Chinese shuttler walked away in tears.It was mixed emotions for Saina as she knew this was not a match she had won but on a stage as big as the Olympics, what counts is a medal for yourself and the nation.”I can imagine what kind of celebration this is going to spark off in India,” said Saina, who had lost to Indonesian Mariana Yulianti in the quarter-finals of the Beijing Olympics.advertisementSo how is she going to celebrate? “I am now going to watch movies and I am going to eat chocolates. I don’t care even if I am going to put on weight!” Saina said.Saina was under a lot of pressure against the tricky Chinese player. Xin used court craft and huge variety in her game to trouble Saina by smashing and placing the shuttle in different corners of the court.Saina had initially taken a 4-2 lead from where Xin caught up with dexterity. The way the lithe Chinese used her wrist with deception had Saina in trouble. More so, when Saina was misjudging the flight of the shuttle on the baseline.But in a matter of minutes, everything changed. Saina did stage a fightback from 7-14 and caught up before Xin’s knee wrecked it.”My initial reaction was that Wang was trying to slow it down or she was trying to get her breath back as she fell down. But once I saw her in the second set, I knew her injury was serious,” explained Saina.Saina told the media she got good sleep last night. “Yes, I did think a lot about the semi-final loss. But I also knew I had to come out fit for the bronze medal play-off,” said Saina.She admitted that she was trying too hard. “I was in a hurry to play attacking strokes from the beginning. And I was perhaps aware of the expectations back home,” said Saina.The atmosphere inside the hall on Saturday was fantastic. Wembley is better known for football but these days it is the indoor badminton hall which has been making huge noise.For the vocal Chinese supporters, this was a big let-down. They had the national flag in place and were loudly cheering star Xin.The Indian fan base, too, was not to be left behind. Waving the Tricolour and cheering Saina in English and Hindi, they were rewarded for their loyalty.last_img read more

Kristen Bell Named Celebrity Ambassador For Polio Eradication

first_imgKristen Bell is the newest face to join Rotary’s ‘This Close’ public awareness campaign for polio eradication.Kristen Bell supports RotaryA paralyzing and life altering disease, polio is on the verge of becoming the second human disease ever to be eliminated worldwide after smallpox.Bell joins Rotary’s fight against polio as the service organization and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative enter the final push to eliminate the vaccine-preventable disease. With the historic removal of Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries last month, just two continue to report polio cases– Pakistan and Afghanistan.“I am overjoyed to work with Rotary at such an important moment in history,” Bell said. “To help create awareness about this horrible disease is exhilarating.”Bell is best known for her roles as the quick-witted, sassy title character in the hit series Veronica Mars, razor-sharp Jeannie van der Hooven of House of Lies and the voice of Princess Anna of Arendelle in Disney’s third highest-grossing film Frozen. She became interested in the importance of vaccines after the birth of her two daughters, Lincoln (age two) and Delta (age one).“As the mother of two young girls, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to make sure every child is safe,” she said. “Polio can be prevented with just 60 cents worth of vaccine – there’s absolutely no reason any child should suffer from it. Hopefully by lending my voice to send this message, I can help rid the world of polio forever.”Video: “This Close” Rotary PSA with Kristen BellAs part of the ‘This Close’ campaign, Bell will be featured in ads raising her thumb and forefinger in the ‘this close’ gesture with the tagline ’we’re this close to ending polio.’ Since the initiative launched in 1988, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to less than 400 confirmed in 2014.The actress joins other public figures and celebrities participating in Rotary’s public awareness campaign, including Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Supermodel Isabeli Fontana; Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; action movie star Jackie Chan; boxing great Manny Pacquiao; pop star Psy; golf legend Jack Nicklaus; conservationist Jane Goodall; premier violinist Itzhak Perlman; Grammy Award winners AR Rahman; Angelique Kidjo and Ziggy Marley; and peace advocate Queen Noor of Jordan.Bell’s ad will debut during Rotary’s World Polio Day livestream event, taking place on Friday, 23 October at 6:30 p.m. EST at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. Click here to view the streaming event.Rotary launched its polio immunization program PolioPlus in 1985 and in 1988 became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more recently the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Rotary’s roles within the initiative are fundraising, advocacy, raising awareness and mobilizing volunteers. To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.4 billion and countless volunteer hours to fight polio. Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year. To date, more than 2.5 billion children have been immunized against the paralyzing and sometimes deadly poliovirus.last_img read more