Gimcheon, S Korea: PV Sindhu has created history for India. She became the first Indian girl to win of the Badminton Asia Youth U-19 Championships, beating Okuhara Nozomi of Japan in an edge-of-the seat 18-21 21-17 22-20 on Saturday. This is the first time since Gautam Thakkar in 1965 that an Indian has won a junior Asian Championship title – Thakkar won the second ABC (Asian Badminton Confederation) junior title in Lucknow.
The event also turned out to be hugely significant because China, for the first time, failed to win any gold medal in either the open or the team events. Yu Xiaohan and Huang Yaqiong were beaten in the women’s doubles final by top seeds Shin Seung Chan and Lee So Hee of South Korea in three games, before Wang Yilv and Huang Dongping went down in another close encounter to Choi Sol Kyu and Chae Yoo Jung, also of Korea, in the mixed doubles.
Indonesia won the men’s doubles, and Japan’s Momota Kento, who had beaten top seed Sameer Verma of India in the semifinals, emerged victorious in the men’s singles to cap a memorable event for Japan, who had earlier won the mixed team event blanking China 3-0.
Sindhu’s performance reaffirmed her status as the fastest-emerging player on the circuit. She overcame two formidable opponents – defending champion Sun Yu of China in the quarterfinals, and Busanan of Thailand in the semis – in straight games, before proving her mental toughness in the climactic moments of the final. The match against Okuhara took close to an hour. The victory also offset the disappointment of the mixed team final last week when Sindhu won both her matches (against Hong Kong and Malaysia) but the team failed both times and was unable to make it to the last four.