PV Sindhu’s rise in the badminton world has been meteoric. A young, lanky Indian girl, with dreams in her eyes was striving hard to break through the large shadow of Saina Nehwal and make a name for herself in the Indian badminton circuit. The game was in place, the skill set improving everyday; but her hunger to win was what was most striking about her. It was a matter of when and not how for Sindhu, and boy did she deliver.
Sindhu brought the nation to a stand still during the 2016 Rio Games, as a male dominant society needed a woman to salvage their pride. Sindhu shot to limelight that night in Rio, wearing that silver medal with pride, eyes welling up; but the hunger still visible, still, very palpable.
Gopichand has time and again said that whatever happens in Super Series events becomes immaterial if the performance dips during the Olympic games and the World Championships, as that is what separates the good from the great. So, while Sindhu was consistent all through, it needed to be seen if she was good enough to smack shoulders with the elite.
And this week has been testimony to Sindhu’s determination, her will-power and her killer instinct; all of which are hallmarks of a champion.But sadly, she just couldn’t get over the finish line, playing some beautiful badminton all through, but stumbling at the final hurdle.
Okuhara played the important points better, especially after being 19-17 down in the decider, keeping her calm and not letting the occasion or the scoreboard get to her.
A heartbreaking loss for Sindhu, but an experience to savour, a tournament to learn loads from, and hopefully she finds in herself to change the colour of the medal next time round.
Final Score: 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 to Okuhara