Tue, 17 Jul 2012 10:29:52 GMT | By IANS

I can hope and try, not predict: Saina Nehwal

Hyderabad: Indian athletes are projected to win medals in a handful of disciplines at the London Olympics, but none is closer to the goal than iconic badminton star Saina Nehwal.

I can hope and try, not predict: Saina Nehwal

Saina spoke to IANS on her Olympic chances with measured equanimity.

"It is the highest level of the game and a dream for any sportsperson; I can only hope and try, cannot predict.

"Let's wait and see what London holds for me. My coach Gopi sir (Pullela Gopichand) and the team are doing their best to help me with my game and build confidence level," said the badminton star.

Four years ago when she played at the Beijing Olympics she was a teen - 18 - and she became the first Indian to enter the badminton quarterfinals at the Olympics. Now she is heading for London with confidence, experience and with several titles in the run-up to boot. She has emerged a clear threat to the badminton superpowers.

Those who have followed the Hyderabadi's badminton from close quarters insist the 22-year-old is India's best bet for a medal in London. Coach Syed Mohammed Arif, who has seen Saina's rise, is one who is willing to put his money on her to come back with a medal.

The expectations from Saina have risen after her splendid showing on the circuit in recent months. After bagging the Thailand Open and Indonesia Super Series titles last month, the world number four stood up to the domination of the Chinese girls and proved they can be beaten.