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Pakistan's first badminton player in the Olympics Mahoor Shahzad idolises Saina Nehwal
Mahoor Shahzad, who is set to become the first badminton player from Pakistan to play at the Olympics idolises India's Saina Nehwal.
Pakistan's number one female badminton player Mahoor Shahzad will represent her country at the Tokyo Olympics. With this, she becomes the first badminton player from the country to take part at the Olympics.
The Pakistan Olympic Association and Pakistan Badminton Federation wished her luck for the international sporting event. Shahzad, who is ranked 144 in the world among the women's singles player, has been offered an invitational place on the Olympics considering her international status and ranking.
In an interview with Pakistan's geo.tv, she said, "My dream has come true. I can't believe I will represent Pakistan in the Olympics. I will live up to expectations and raise the green crescent flag."
She said that had she had the opportunity to participate in international events during the last one year, she would have been on the list of the world's top 100 badminton players. She was not able to do this, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shahzad took to Twitter to express her happiness and wrote:
"A dream has certainly come true" Alhumdulillah, I have been selected for Tokyo Olympics 2020. This is a great accomplishment for Pakistan as I am the first Pakistani Badminton player to qualify for Olympics. I am really thankful to all of you for your prayers and support."
In a television interview in 2018, Shahzad admitted that she idolises India's Saina Nehwal. In fact, she got to play her idol in the 2018 Commonwealth Games where Nehwal got the better off her by 21-7 21-11.
With the unfortunate turn of events, former World no. 1 Nehwal has not been able to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed that no further tournaments will be played inside the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifying window.