India: Badminton Icon Saina Nehwal urges young people to pursue healthy life choices

New Delhi, India/26 June 2024: On World Drug Day, Indian badminton icon Saina Nehwal delivered an inspiring and heartfelt message, calling on communities to reject drug use and support those affected. Nehwal is an acclaimed sportsperson, a former world number one and the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in badminton.

Nehwal highlighted the importance of awareness and community support in preventing drug use, while emphasizing the crucial role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in promoting a drug-free society.

As a public influencer, her advocacy of drug use prevention efforts helps to raise awareness and enhance support for those affected by drug use, ultimately fostering a more supportive and understanding community.

"The drug challenge affects us all, from addiction struggles to the dangers of trafficking. It’s a serious problem that we must address together," said Nehwal, emphasizing the power of sports as a positive influence and a means of preventing drug use. "Sports have taught me discipline, determination, and a healthy lifestyle. I know this—when I play badminton, I feel energized, happy, and motivated to do great things for the nation."

She also appealed to young people to choose sports over drugs and to surround themselves with positive influences.

Nehwal also highlighted the critical role of families. "Just like sports, families are important too. They provide values and support. Strong family bonds serve as a protective shield against drug use."

Her emphasis on family as a cornerstone of prevention underscored the need for nurturing environments where young people feel supported and understood.

Extending support to UNODC initiative, Nehwal said, "I stand with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in promoting health, investing in prevention and strengthening family skills."