The two-time silver medallist PV Sindhu on August 25 broke the jinx of failing at finals and clinched first world championships gold at BWF finals for India.
The 24-year-old stunned her supporters and detractors alike after winning the gold at the World Championships which even the legendary Prakash Padukone had failed at. With this, her agonising wait for the elusive gold finally ended in Basel in Switzerland.
Padukone was the first Indian men to win bronze in men’s singles World Championships in 1983.
Throughout the 38 minutes long nailbiting badminton match, Sindhu dominated the court with powerful accurate smashes.
She defeated Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, world no. 4, a well-known rival by 21-7 21-7 in one of the most lopsided finals ever. Although Okuhara won the first point of the first game, Sindhu won eight straight points to gain an 8-1 lead. Okuhara managed to score a few points before the end of the first game, albeit far behind Sindhu’s score.
In the second game, although Okuhara initially took the lead, Sindhu dismantled her with six consecutive points.
Both Sindhu and Okuhara reached the final after swatting aside China’s Chen Yu Fei and Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon.
With the win, Sindhu now has a full set of medals at World Championships – two bronze medals, two silver medals and a gold medal.
A Win Dedicated To Her Mother
After her win, Sindhu dedicated the title of the world champion to her mother P. Vijaya – an accomplished volleyball player. Coincidently, the final was played on her mother’s birthday.
“I dedicate this medal to my mother. It’s her birthday today. She will be tremendously happy. I wanted to give her something and now I can give her this,” Sindhu said. The entire stadium wished her mother happy birthday in unison.
Back home, Sindhu’s mother was quoted saying, “This was the best gift of my lifetime.”
After receiving the medal, Sindhu told the reporters that she had goosebumps when the Tricolour was hoisted with the national anthem. “I won for my country and I am very proud to be an Indian,” she said.
She thanked her coaches – South Korean Kim Ji Hyun and Pullela Gopichand for the win. “A lot of credit goes to my coaches – Gopi Sir and Kim, and also to my parents as well, my support staff and my sponsors who believed in me,” Sindhu added.
It was against Okuhara that Sindhu had lost two years back in a World Championships finals at Glasgow. In the pulsating face-off which lasted for two hours and involved a 73-shot rally, Okuhara emerged victorious, crushing Sindhu’s dream to become the world champion.
Okuhara had then won by 21-9, 20-22, 22-20 leaving Sindhu with a silver medal. With the latest win, Sindhu now leads 9-7 head-to-head against Okuhara. Last year Sindhu had lost against Carolina Marin in China. She had lost gold to Marin in the Rio Olympics 2016.
Highlighting her two previous losses, Sindhu said, “I lost last year in the final and the year before that. I am really very, very happy. I have waited for this victory, and finally, I’ve become the world champion.”
Congratulations Pour In
Soon after she became the world champion, congratulatory messages started pouring in over social media. One of the first persons to wish her was contemporary Saina Nehwal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijuju all congratulated Sindhu for making the country proud.
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