SIND­HUS­TANI

First In­dian woman to win a sil­ver at the Olympics wins 1.2 bil­lion hearts back home

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - Sukhwant Basra

RIO DE JANEIRO: PV Sindhu cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion and hearts of In­dia even as she went down to the su­pe­rior speed and court craft of World No. 1 Carolina Marin of Spain in the bad­minton fi­nal of the Rio Games on Fri­day.

The 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 ver­dict came in 83 min­utes in which In­dia stood still to watch a war­rior of a woman show­case what it takes to get Olympic sil­ver, the first by an In­dian woman in the Games.

Sindhu, the World No. 10 and a sur­prise fi­nal­ist, fell to the ground af­ter match point, rest­ing her head on her knees for a while be­fore slowly walk­ing away to hug her beam­ing ri­val. Min­utes later on the podium, the 21-year-old shut­tler, the youngest In­dian to win in the Olympics, held up her medal and kissed it with a broad smile.

“I ended up with sil­ver medal but am really happy,” said Sindhu mo­ments af­ter the game.

“A day be­fore a girl has got a bronze, it’s me now. We have all played well. There will be ups and downs in sport like in life. Los­ing one or two points. I would like to con­grat­u­late every­one. It’s been a great week for me.”

Marin’s plan was to at­tack and she did. Sindhu ini­tially looked shaky, but quickly pulled her­self into the game. If Sindhu was dom­i­nant in the semis against No­zomi Okuhara of Japan, who won bronze, roles had re­versed against the Spa­niard. Marin played Sindhu, try­ing to tire her.

A deep re­turn would be fol­lowed by a sub­tle drop shot, set­ting up a per­fect at­tack­ing op­por­tu­nity. Sindhu was play­ing catch up till the score read 19-16 in Marin’s favour. Two un­forced er­rors at that junc­ture al­lowed Sindhu to come back and she made most of the op­por­tu­nity. She won five suc­ces­sive points to win the first game 21-19, leav­ing Marin shrug­ging her shoul­ders.

Her deep place­ment on Marin’s back­hand on game point was top notch. The loss of the first game had the twice de­fend­ing world cham­pion chang­ing tac­tics from the start in the sec­ond. She lit­er­ally dec­i­mated Sindhu’s game plan.

Run­ning away with 5-1 lead, Marin put the In­dian on the back foot, forc­ing her to err. Her drops dis­played mag­nif­i­cent touch, some leav­ing Sindhu flail­ing. Her smashes, hov­er­ing in the vicin­ity of 330 km/hour, were pen­e­tra­tive. Carolina Marin beat

PV Sindhu 19-21

21-12

21-15

REUTERS PHOTO

PV Sindhu, who said she is happy to win a sil­ver, savours her his­toric podium fin­ish af­ter the women’s sin­gles bad­minton fi­nal at the Rio Olympics on Fri­day.

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