Rajeev Bagga salutes World No 2 Saina Nehwal

Published: Jul 17, 2010, 07:29 IST | Hemal Ashar |

Deaf badminton champion Rajeev Bagga salutes India's World No 2 and recalls how he could never hear the applause during his playing days but was extremely emotional whenever he saw the tricolour being raised

Deaf badminton champion Rajeev Bagga salutes India's World No 2 and recalls how he could never hear the applause during his playing days but was extremely emotional whenever he saw the tricolour being raised

Rajeev Bagga, former national badminton champion was known as the silent assassin when he used to play in India. Assassin because he was deadly on court as opponent's realised as they perished one by one and silent because Bagga is deaf, he inhabits a world quite different from other persons.

Versatile: Saina Nehwal, who is the current No 2 in women's world badminton rankings


Today, Bagga, Deaflympics (Olympics for the Deaf) champion for years is based in the UK and says about the current flavour of India's badminton world Saina Nehwal, who reached world No 2 ranking, "Saina is brilliant. I saw her compete at the 2010 All England Championships. She is a versatile player. It is important now for her to supplement her training by getting coaching from Chinese and European coaches outside India that could give her an important edge, not only to reach the top but obtain a mindset that enables her to stay there for a long period."

Rajeev knows what it is to be No 1, for he has been at the top for a long time. Yet, in one fundamental way, Bagga's world is different from Saina. Saina can hear the applause and cheers of the spectators. Bagga never could.  

Says Bagga, "Perhaps this issue is important from a "hearing" perspective. Applause is not significant from a sporting perspective. I am deaf and I have reached the top in both the Open category and in the deaf platform in India and on the international stage. As a sportsman, what is important is aiming for the highest position and winning."

Bagga also writes that there was one upside to not being able to hear, he could not hear the cheering for the opposition too. "These can also be distractions that can be negative for a player." 

Bagga says he could never hear the Indian national anthem being played while he was on the podium but "that is important from a 'hearing' person's perspective. I have always felt very emotional when saw my national flag - be it the Indian in the past or the British today, being hoisted when I have won a medal on the international circuit for my country. I have felt very emotional about doing my country proud."

Bagga is happy that Saina is getting endorsements,  "she is a high-profile sportswoman and deserves this support," says the champion who is currently the All England Veterans and All European Veterans Champion, besides holding the Deaflympics No 1 spot for an unbeaten record of a straight 20 years.

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