Saina Nehwal wins world junior championship

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Saina Nehwal becomes first Indian to win a world junior championship in badminton. She beat Japan's Shato Sayako 21-9, 21-18 in the final in Pune.

Updated: November 03, 2008 18:00 IST
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Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal on Sunday became the first Indian to clinch the World Junior badminton Championship with a straight-game win in the finals here.

Top seed Saina got the better of her ninth seeded Japanese rival Sayaka Sato 21-9 21-18 in a lopsided match that lasted just 25 minutes.

"It is a great feeling to win it this time. The last time in 2006, I had lost in the finals but I am happy that I clinched the title this time," Saina, who reached the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics, said after the match.

"I never thought that I would play so well. The first game was easier but in the second game she was playing good smashed but I was successful in catching her on the nets. I played my back hands well and so overall I am satisfied with my performance. It was an okay sort of a match.

"However, I reckon my semifinals match against Chinese Shixian Wang as the toughest in the tournament," she added.

With the Commonwealth youth gold and the World Junior badminton title in her kitty, the world number 11 has now set her eyes on China and Hong Kong Open later this month.

"I am next playing China Open and Hong Kong open this month and I am confident of doing well there as well," the national champion said.

National coach Pullela Gopichand said Saina played like a champion all through the tournament.

"She played like a champion. It is good to see her wining convincingly through out the tournament. She has really done well, hats off to her," Gopichand said.

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