After Sakshi Malik’s bronze in Wrestling, another medal is up for possession, though different in colour .. not on the mat but on the Badminton court. The elegant PV Sindhu is the conqueror — though colour is yet to be decided. Whatever colour she wins, she will script a new history in the Indian sports. She is the fist female Indian player to enter the one to one final in any sports in the Olympic Games.
Sindhu bore the burden of bringing laurel for the country after Saina’s early exit from the Games and she did it successfully like a true champion. It was evident in her classic victories over two higher ranked players in the knock-out stage. She will now take on world no one Carolina Marin of Spain in the gold medal match.
In the semi final Sindhu stunned Japan’s 6th seed Nozomi Okuhara in straight games 21-19 21-10. After winning the first game closely, she didn’t allow her illustrious rival and defending All England Champion, to match her speed, cleverly placed drops and smashes in the second game. Going in to break with 11-10 advantage, Sindhu secured ten points in a row to conclude the proceedings at 21-10.
The two-time bronze medallist at World Championship Sindhu won the first game 21-19 in 29 minutes. She opened up a 4-1 lead early on and rode on Okuhara’s unforced errors to extend the advantage to 8-4. Then Indian engaged her rival in long rallies and tried to vary the pace and finish them with well-executed drops.
Okuhara hit back. At 16-18, Sindhu failed to return Okuhara’s body-smash but she again caught hold of the shuttley using her height and sent it sailing out of the Japanese reach. A missed net shot by Okuhara saw Sindhu reach the game point. She grabbed the opportunity and won the first game.
In the second game it was neck to neck affair until the break. Sindhu once again opened up 3-0 lead but the Japanese soon came back strongly and raced to 5-3 lead. Unfazed Sindhu soon made it 5-5 and then 8-8. She managed a slender 11-10 lead at interval. On resumption, Sindhu was in different mould, going with all cylinders firing. She reeled off ten straight points to shut the doors on Okuhara and clinched the game 21-10 in just 21 minutes. She was brilliant at nets and in her deceptive flicks and drops.
Now the whole nation is looking for another great show from you on the Friday evening in which you will take on two-time world champion Carolina Marin, who has also entered her maiden Olympic final beating London Olympic champion Li Xuerui 21-14 21-16 in the semi final.
|… by Arun Arnaw Khare|