New Delhi: Indian ace Saina Nehwal's ascent to the top of women's badminton was officially confirmed today with the release of the latest rankings by the game's international governing body.
In becoming the first Indian woman shuttler to attain the number one spot in world rankings, Saina took over the reins from China's Li Xuerui, who slipped to third with Spain's Carolina Marin claiming the second position.
Saina Nehwal. Pic/ AFP
Saina, who had clinched the India Open Super Series title on March 29, was already assured of the top spot after Xuerui lost in the league stage of Delhi event and the 25-year-old Hyderabadi's closest challenger for the position, Carolina, also lost her semi-final match.
Saina thus becomes only the second Indian overall to be world number one after Prakash Padukone had the distinction of being the numero uno men's badminton player. Risinng women's shuttler PV Sindhu held her ninth position.
Saina, who shuttled past former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 21-16 21-14 in the summit clash at the Siri Fort Sports Complex had said: "I think the consistency with which I am playing is great. I reached three finals in last two months and it is not easy."
"Titles makes me hungry. Next I hope to win more and more titles, I hope to be fit and injury free. This result will motivate me to win more titles."
The London Olympic bronze-medallist has won a staggering 14 international titles in her glorious career and most recently became the first Indian woman to make the finals of the prestigious All England Championships in Manchester.
In the men's category, India Open Super Series winner Kidambi Srikanth stayed at the fourth spot with China's Chen Long leading the rankings chart.