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New Delhi: Indian shuttler PV Sindhu made a gallant effort to give India its second individual gold at the Olympics but lost to world No. 1 Carolina Marin 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in the women’s singles final at the Rio Games on Friday to settle for a silver medal.
She lost the chance to win gold but Sindhu etched her name in sporting history as she became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal at the quadrennial event. This is also India’s first silver in the badminton event at the Olympics. Saina Nehwal had won bronze at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sindhu also became only the fifth woman from India to win an Olympic medal. Wrestler Sakshi Malik (bronze in 2016), Saina (bronze in 2012), boxer MC Mary Kom (bronze in 2012) and weightlifter Karnam Malleswari (bronze in 2000) are the other four who have made the country proud.
Sindhu, 21, is now the fourth Indian to win a silver at the Olympics after shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004) and Vijay Kumar (2012) and wrestler Sushil Kumar (2012).
It is India's second medal at the Rio Games after Sakshi bagged a wrestling bronze in the women's 58-kg category on Wednesday.
The badminton final, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes, saw both players making same solid comebacks but Carolina held her nerves to register her fifth career win over the Indian - leading the head to head 5-3 now.
Sindhu had a poor start and was trailing 6-11 in the first game but she showed great resilience and made a stunning comeback taking five points on the trot to claim the first game in 27 minutes for a 1-0 lead.
In the second game, Sindhu looked a bit tired and Carolina was brilliant in court coverage. Sindhu couldn't manage to control the continuous attack from her opponent and trailed 2-11 at the mid-game break. Sindhu was completely outplayed by the Spaniard as Carolina took the game 21-12 to make it 1-1.
In the final game, Carolina got off to a flying start as she took a five-point lead at 6-1 and then led 9-4, but Sindhu made another fightback to make it 10-10. The duo continued to fight for each point valiantly but Carolina looked superior during the crucial exchanges.
Sindhu lost her way after the breather as Carolina upped the ante to take 19-14 lead and went on to win the final game 21-15 and the match 2-1 to win the gold medal and become the first European to do so.
"I'm really proud about it, really happy. I could not win the gold but I really worked hard. It was anybody's game," said Sindhu after the game.
"A day before a girl (Sakshi) has won 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," she added.
Japan's Nozomi Okuhara won the bronze in a walkover after her Chinese opponent, the 2012 singles champion Li Xuerui, pulled out of their playoff with a knee injury.