Kolkata: Last year at the 2016 Rio Olympics, PV Sindhu had made the entire badminton fraternity stand up and applaud her efforts when she put up a brave fight against a strong opponent in the form of Carolina Marin and had to stay content with a silver.
This time, it’s the World Championships and to no one’s surprise, the Indian has been in rampaging form and has stormed into the finals with a gold on her mind.
“..I want to win and the aim is to win gold and I have to be focussed on that,” she said after her dominating victory over Chen Yufei of China in straight sets in the semi-final.
She also added, “When you get to the final, you want to win. You want to win the gold medal for the country and you can do anything for the country. It was the same in Rio last year and I want to win a medal for my country…I will give my heart out for the gold.”
Sindhu is undoubtedly the favourite to win her maiden gold in the World Championships. She has a terrific record in the competition so far, as she had won the bronze medals in the 2013 and 2014 editions of the marquee badminton tournament held in Guangzhou and Copenhagen respectively.
Statistics also favour the Indian going ahead into Sunday’s clash against Nozomi Okuhara. The Hyderabadi shares a 3-3 record with her Japanese opponent. Furthermore, Sindhu’s chances of a gold are even more if the fact that she had won the last two fixtures against Nozomi are taken into consideration. She had defeated the Japanese at the Rio Olympics last year and at the Singapore Open earlier this year and clearly, she would be walking into the final with an upper hand over her rival.
The Summer Olympics in Rio last year was one of the major markers in the development of Sindhu as a shuttler. She had defied all odds and put up a tough fight against the then world no.1 Carolina Marin and although she had lost, her effort was applauded by fans and pundits of the sports all across the world.
She had then become the youngest to win an individual medal at the greatest stage of them all and also achieved the record of being the only Indian to have won a silver medal in Olympic history.
Now, the 22-year old is on the verge of creating history once again as she has become the only second Indian to reach the finals of the World Championships after compatriot Saina Nehwal had achieved the feat in the 2015 edition of the tournament held in Jakarta.
At Rio, Sindhu had taken on an opponent who was not only placed higher than her in the rankings but also was a favourite to win the gold in the finals. Now, the 22-year old, who is currently the world no.4 would compete against someone who is way below her in the rankings and that should give her confidence walking into the summit clash.
But complacency shouldn’t enter her thought processes, as her Japanese opponent has defeated the likes of Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the quarter-final and Saina Nehwal in the semi-final to book a place in the summit clash.
Unfortunately, the prospect of an all-Indian final didn’t turn into reality as Saina Nehwal had to settle for a bronze due to the cramped scheduling of the matches. Nonetheless, an Indian winning the gold on English soil would be a fascinating thought to entertain.