Sport, for that matter any sport, gives and takes a lot. The entire country today and millions of other Indians across the world will watch with bated breath as PV Sindhu embarks upon her third attempt to win the badminton World Championships gold. But will her greatness diminish even if she is a third time unlucky? It will definitely not.
Unlike many other countries – like China and Japan PV Sindhu is not the product of any government-run sports scheme. In fact, if there is anyone who has been responsible for PV Sindhu becoming a legend in badminton at such a young age, then it’s Pullela Gopichand and his academy at Hyderabad. PV Sindhu has grown up there, been nurtured there and the rough edges of her game smoothened there. Growing up there and winning five medals in the World Championships (she has won two bronze and two silver medals in earlier editions of the tournament) is no mean feat.
At 24 Sindhu has still some more years of the sport left in her. And that is why when she takes on Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the Badminton World Championships summit clash, she should stay relaxed. It is very rare to see an Indian in the finals of any World Championship event three successive times. By doing so she has already written her name in the annals of India’s sports. One more gold will certainly add more punch to her biopic if it is ever made… but if not, it will certainly not tarnish her image and her feats.
PV Sindhu leads 8-7 in her head-to-head rivalry against Japanese Okuhara. It should also be mentioned here that it was Okuhara who beat Sindhu in the 2017 World Championships final. It was an epic by badminton standards with Sindhu losing the third game at deuce. But going into the game, Sindhu will certainly be buoyed by the fact that in her last six meetings with Okuhara she has won four matches… that certainly will put her in a good frame of mind.
Sindhu knows very well that it won’t be easy for her. “We have played each other so many times that we know each other’s game very well,” Sindhu said of Okuhara after defeating current World No.3 and All England champion Chen Yu Fei in the semifinals. “So I have to be patient, engage her in long rallies and win the crucial points. It all boils down to who plays the crucial points well. What is more important to me is that I give my best shot… after that win or lose doesn’t matter because in sport there will be one winner and one has to lose,” Sindhu had added.
Before the World Championships had started, Sindhu had said that she had worked on her fitness very hard and it certainly is showing. There is an alacrity to her game which has caught her opponents napping and Sindhu will hope that she manages to do that once more against Okuhara. The Japanese always engages her opponents in long rallies and Sindhu is well aware of that.
Sport, for that matter any sport, is a lot of hard work and little bit of luck. Let us all hope that Sindhu is third time lucky. And if not who cares?
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu has put Indian badminton firmly on the world map. The movement which was started by Saina Nehwal gained momentum with Sindhu. No one can take that stupendous feat away from her. Let’s all celebrate that.
Badminton World Championships final: 4.30pm (approx IST time)