Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal earned India its third medal at the London Games, clinching a bronze under fortuitous circumstances as her opponent and world number two Xin Wang of China conceded the third-place play off match due to a knee injury after winning the first game.
The fourth seeded Indian had saved four game points in a dramatic fightback and was 18-20 when left-handed Xin twisted her knee while going for an acrobatic smash from the baseline and took on-court treatment for the injury.
However, she was back on the court after wrapping her left knee in bandage and immediately attacked Saina’s serve to win the point and the game to be 1-0 up.
But after winning the first point in the second game, Xin could not continue and was wincing in pain before shaking hands with Saina to concede the match and the bronze medal to the 22-year-old Indian ace.
Saina thus became the first Indian badminton player to win a medal at the Olympic Games. She had reached the quarterfinals in Beijing Games four years ago and lost in the semifinals yesterday to gain a chance to play for the bronze today at the Wembley Arena.
This was the second day running that India have won a medal, following pistol shooter Vijay Kumar’s silver medal on Friday.