Now we know PV Sindhu can beat anyone. That is what makes her one among the world’s greatest. In the course of one week, where she beat the World Nos 1 and 2 on the first two days of the World Tour Finals, got past two of the most pickled games on the circuit of Beiwen Zhang and Ratchanok Intanon, and finally brought World Championship nemesis Nozomi Okuhara to her knees in straight sets, Sindhu crossed the finals hurdle that she has been accused of faltering over repeatedly. This wasn’t just the year-end season finale, a vaunted title, but a personal demon she slayed to end chatter about her abilities to go the distance.
There are higher peaks to scale. The World Tour Finals might have been fourth or even fifth on her list of priorities for a specially busy year like 2018. Greatness in the shuttle sport demands that a player wins the World Championships, the Asian Games or the All England at least. The 2022 Commonwealth Games title will also be highly coveted. Add Tokyo Olympics to this, and the set can be said to be complete. So the clamour for gold will extend to these big titles, even as Indian badminton aims for greater heights. There won’t be respite from demands to upgrade her silver to gold at every major, and one suspects Sindhu won’t have it any other way.
What Sindhu must be celebrated for, though, is how she has taken Saina Nehwal’s achievements to the next notch, how her game provides Indians edge-of-the-seat excitement and how she has refused to give up or go away. Her success is unprecedented for its consistency and there is an Abhinav Bindra-esque quality to her single-minded pursuit of perfection. The gold felt fabulous on a chilly winter morning where hard work was rewarded, and the silvers — steely and sizzling in excitement as they were — won’t be missed.