AI: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has been nominated for the Woman Player of the Year Award of the Badminton World Federation after a consistent season which saw her occupy the world number one spot for a brief period.
Saina, currently ranked number two, will vie for the coveted honour along with world number one Carolina Marin of Spain, 2014 winner Zhao Yunlei of China and another Chinese Bao Yixin.
The winners of the BWF Players of the Year Awards will be announced at the Players’ Reception and Gala Dinner for the Dubai World Superseries Finals on December 7 at Al Badia Golf Club here.
Saina became India’s first world number one in women’s singles and enjoyed a consistent run this season, winning her home leg of the BWF World Superseries tour in Delhi and also reaching the finals of the BWF World Championships, the All England and the Thaihot China Open.
Marin started and ended the year on a perfect note — winning the All England Championship in March and the Hong Kong Open in November. In between, she picked up three other Superseries titles and retained the World Championship title.
Zhao was the pre-eminent woman doubles player. Partnering Zhang Nan, she won six Mixed Doubles Superseries. She repeated the remarkable feat of winning two World Championships — in Mixed and Women’s Doubles — while capturing the Japan and Hong Kong Open titles in Women’s Doubles. Overall, she collected eight Superseries titles in 2015.
Bao was successful in both her disciplines — winning the All England Women’s Doubles crown and Mixed Doubles at the India Open. She reached the Mixed finals in the World Championships, the Australian Open and the Hong Kong Open.
In the Male Player of the Year category, world number one Chen Long of China — who won the title last season — has been nominated alongside his doubles-playing compatriot, Zhang Nan, and Korea’s exciting duo of Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong.
In a historic first, there are three nominees each for the Male Para-Badminton Player of the Year and the Female Para-Badminton Player of the Year.