Sindhu, Stokes: Super sports Sunday

Sindhu, Stokes: Super sports Sunday

While India's P V Sindhu demolished her Japanese opponent Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in the badminton World Championship final in Basel, Switzerland, across the English Channel, Ben Stokes resurrected England from the dead in the third Test at Leeds with a once-in-a-lifetime innings to keep the Ashes alive.

Two athletes from different cultural backgrounds and completely contrasting characters, in two sports distinct from each other in nature, achieved sporting glory on a super Sunday in the same continent. While India's P V Sindhu demolished her Japanese opponent Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in the badminton World Championship final in Basel, Switzerland, across the English Channel, Ben Stokes resurrected England from the dead in the third Test at Leeds with a once-in-a-lifetime innings to keep the Ashes alive.  

Sindhu had fallen short in so many finals that she had earned herself the unwanted moniker of "silver girl." Rio Olympics, Asian Games and two back-to-back losses in World Championships -- all creditable achievements -- had left many wondering if she had it in her to win the big finals. Sunday's coronation proved the doubters wrong as convincingly as her triumph over Okuhara. It must have helped the 24-year-old overcome some bitter memories of the 2017 edition, when she had lost to the same opponent in a gruelling three-game slug fest, and her capitulation to Spain's Carolina Marin the next year. It was also a great turnaround for Sindhu who until this triumph had endured an ordinary 2019 by her own high standards. The victory over Taiwanese Tai Tzu Ying in the quarterfinal was perhaps the turning point for the Hyderabadi. It must have done a world of good to her confidence to beat her biggest nemesis, against whom she had lost her last six matches. The win has now raised hopes of an Olympic gold in Tokyo 2020. Sindhu’s fellow Hyderabadi B Sai Praneeth provided the icing on the cake by clinching bronze, becoming only the second Indian men's player to win a medal after Prakash Padukone’s 1983 achievement.

Just after Sindhu was crowned, Stokes scripted an improbable win over Australia from a hopeless situation. The New Zealand-born all-rounder, who had suffered enough troubles and disappointments on and off the field, pulled off an act that left the cricketing world in a daze. Not unlike Sindhu, Stokes too had come up short on many occasions -- be it the World T20 final in Kolkata in 2016 where he conceded four sixes in a row in the last over, the Bristol ODI against Sri Lanka during the recent World Cup, and even the final against New Zealand when he could only help England tie the match but not win it decisively. His unbeaten 135 in the crunch on Sunday, and his association of 76 runs for the last wicket of which he scored 74 off 44 balls, was his ultimate redemption -- one that has propelled him to stake claim to greatness.