PV Sindhu on Sunday became the second Indian athlete to clinch successive Olympics medals when she defeated He Bingjiao of China in the badminton women’s singles to win the bronze medal at the ongoing Tokyo Games. Sindhu won 21-13, 21-15 for her second straight Olympic medal, adding to the silver medal she clinched at the Rio Games in 2016.
Sindhu was gunning to become the country’s first ever individual gold medalist in badminton singles but her dream ended on Saturday when she lost to world’s no 1 Tai Tzu-ying in the semifinal. Before that, the Indian was in red-hot form having not dropped a single game in her run to the last-four stage.
However, against Tzu-ying, the 26-year-old lost 18-21, 12-21.
She recovered from the loss and 24 hours later, produced a dominating show against the Chinese who had no answer to the Indian star’s powerful smashes and court coverage.
The Chinese didn’t give Sindhu pace to play her power game but the Indian soon worked her way around even as her opponent committed a few unforced errors. Sindhu ended another superb rally with a cross court smash and entered the interval with another down the line hit at 11-8.
The Indian stepped up the pace after the break to gather three more points and looked in total control to pocket the opening game when her opponent went wide. After change of ends, Sindhu continued her aggressive game, egged on by coach Park Tae-Sang from the sidelines, to lead 4-1 with a cross court return.
Bing Jiao tried to change the momentum but Sindhu rode on her attacking half smashes and slices to keep her nose ahead at the interval with a three point advantage. Bing Jiao erased the deficit quickly before a precise smash on the line helped Sindhu wrest back control. She soon restored the three point advantage with another cross court drop.
The Indian didn’t let the advantage slip and grabbed five match points with another of trademark smash and when Bing Jiao went wide, she held her head in disbelief before letting out a cry of victory. ”I’m on cloud nine. I’m going to enjoy this moment,” Sindhu said.
Sindhu is the first ever female athlete from India to win two successive individual Olympic medals. Wrestler Sushil Kumar was the first from India to win successive medals at the quadrennial Games.
Expressing his happiness, Sindhu’s father PV Ramana said, “Happy that she is the first Indian women to win back to back Olympic medals. Yesterday I spoke to her…told her to win…told her to win it for me. I told her that He Binjiao has been playing longer games and she would not be able to carry on…I had sent her videos to analyse," a beaming Ramana said.
This is India’s third medal at the event after Mirabai Chanu’s historic weightlifting silver last month and boxer Lovlina Borgohain entering semifinals to confirm at least a bronze.
With PTI Inputs