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