PV Sindhu defeated Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in straight games by 21-7, 21-7 to win the BWF World Championships 2019 in Basel on Sunday, and the elusive gold medal after having to settle for silver in the last two years. The 24-year-old also became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the BWF World Championships.
— Mihir Vasavda (@mihirsv) August 25, 2019
Two years after being robbed off the gold by Okuhara in an epic 110-minute final at Glasgow that went down as one of the greatest battles in badminton history, Sindhu finally exorcised the ghost of that heart-wrenching loss with a win over the same opponent. The match lasted for just 38 minutes in what was a show of sheer dominance and power by the towering 24-year-old Indian.
It was Sindhu’s fifth World Championships medal — joint-most for a woman singles player with former Olympics and world champion Zhang Ning of China — to go with the two successive silvers and a couple of bronze medals.
“Last time, I lost in the final, before that also I lost in the final, so it is a very important win for me. I want to thank the crowd for supporting me. I won it for my country and I am very proud being an Indian,” said Sindhu.
“A big thanks to my coach Kim and Gopi sir and my supporting staff and I dedicate this win to my mom, it’s her birthday today,” she added.
After Okuhara opened the match with the first point, Sindhu went on to dominate the game after taking eight straight points to make it 8-1. From there, with a variation of backhands and forehands, Sindhu made her opponent work hard until she took a massive lead of 14-2. Using her height and energy, she bagged the first game by 21-7.
In the second game of the match, she channelised her momentum of the first game, and got two quick points. Okuhara replied in kind and tried to set off a comeback, but her unforced errors gave Sindhu another massive 11-4 lead. From there, the Indian made a couple of errors but she kept the tide with her with a powerful smash towards the end.
Sindhu grabbed the match point when Okuhara went long again and sealed the title with another superb return before throwing her hands in the air in celebration.
Prakash Padukone became the first Indian to win a medal in World Championships with a men’s singles bronze in the 1983 edition while Saina Nehwal bagged a silver and a bronze in 2015 and 2017 respectively in women’s singles.
Sindhu has also won an Olympic silver in 2016 Rio Games, a silver at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, an Asian Games silver at Jakarta and the BWF World Tour Finals last year.
With Sindhu’s gold and Praneeth’s bronze in this edition, Indian shuttlers also continued the six-year streak of winning at least one medal in the prestigious event.
(with PTI inputs)