Sindhu wears silver crown

Sindhu wears silver crown

First Indian woman to bag honour

Sindhu wears silver crown

In a sport that was born in India, shuttler P V Sindhu fell marginally short of becoming the country’s golden girl at the Olympic Games. But she created history by becoming the first woman from India to win a silver medal at the quadrennial event.

After a dream run through the draw, Sindhu was halted by Spain’s world champion Carolina Marin 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 in the badminton women’s singles final that lasted an exhilarating 83 minutes at the Riocentro Pavilion on Friday.

In 120 years of the modern Olympic Games, Abhinav Bindra had been the only Indian individual gold medal winner. Sindhu’s bid to join him on that pedestal was brave and strong at the start, but Marin neutralised the Indian threat, relying on her big match experience and strong all-round play.

After five matches in which she didn’t even drop a game, Sindhu found the top-seeded Marin too tough an opponent. The two-time world champion did not allow the Indian to settle down, and even though she lost the first game, the Spaniard came storming back to take the next two for her maiden Olympic gold.

Sindhu, who has grown in stature with every match here, was forced to return with the silver, joining Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijay Kumar and Sushil Kumar as the only Indians with the medal of that hue in individual sport.

After the exit of Saina Nehwal at the group stage itself, the entire spotlight was on Sindhu and the 21-year-old from Hyderabad has been outstanding in the way she responded to the challenge.

She came through unscathed in every round, overcoming tricky Canadian Michelle Li, Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying and China’s Wang Yihan along the way.

She found the right balance of aggression and defence here, forging both together with steely strands of determination. But Marin was in no mood to relent, keeping the Indian firmly in check at crucial moments to emerge a worthy champion.

Sindhu was beaten, but she was far from disgraced, emerging as the shining light of Indian badminton with her silver.

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