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After No 2 ranking, brand Saina soars   
After No 2 ranking, brand Saina soars A day after taking the world No 2 ranking, Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal scaled another peak. She signed her first brand endorsement deal with American direct selling company Herbalife, which is famous for its nutrition products for sportspersons. Though the worth of the deal was not revealed, as Saina and the company maintained that the amount is confidential, it is likely to be in the range of Rs 30 to 50 lakh, the biggest signed by the Hyderabadi lass
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All eyes on Saina as Badminton Asia Championship gets underway   
All eyes on Saina as Badminton Asia Championship gets underway A wrestling duel was raging on the courtside TV screen even as a badminton doubles qualifier was on. While the screen turned blank very soon, the laughter erupted. This mild goof-up was symptomatic of the teething problems that have been dogging the Yonex-Sunrise Badminton Asia Championship for the opening two days but there were promises that things would get better, once the tournament proper begins on Wednesday. The dusty training court smelt of the construction activities outside - the CWG is around the corner - while there was the normal confusion among the security force and the organizers. The lack of signages sent the media on a one and half mile hike under the scorching sun and then, there was a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. "Well, you must understand there was nothing here two days ago so I only ask for some patience," reasoned Ashok Kumar, the chairman of the media committee. Well, while one cannot guarantee the efficiency of the organizers, the wait for the main event is certainly over. Every Indian's favourite Saina Nehwal, who has the top billing in the women's draw, takes on Thailand's Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the first round (Round of 32) during the evening but before that, the star attractions in the men's draw, Taufik Hidayat and Lin Dan, would have played their first (R64) and second (R32) rounds in both sessions. STRONG FIELD Late withdrawals and missing big names may have taken some sheen away from the event but South Korean doubles legend and five-time World champion Park Joo-bong, now the head coach of Japan, gave the tournament and the indoor facilities at Siri Fort the thumbs-up. "The field is quite strong despite the absence of first-string players from China, Malaysia or Indonesia and the facilities are quite good. I can understand it is a test event for the Commonwealth Games so a few things are yet to be settled." Like the air conditioners. "The drift in the entrance side is faster than the other so that may make a difference in shuttle flight," Park said. The Korean added that the players were a bit annoyed with the security hassles. "It bothers the players if they are checked thrice or more as they are not accustomed to it. This kind of security is seen only in Olympics and Asian Games but I understand there are some issues here," he said.
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(Photo Date:04/14/2010
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