Do you often get that feeling where you are doing just about everything right but somehow you always keep missing out on the big moments? Do you not feel bogged down by mounting expectations and self-doubting apprehensions?
Much of the 24-year-old PV Sindhu's professional life has been like that. But the glittering gold medal on her neck at the BWF World Championships 2019 was finally her triumph over all the self-doubt that had been impeding her progress.
A year ago in Nanjing, China, Sindhu was struggling to find her form and haplessly lost to Spain's Carolina Marin in the World Championships final. The first game was well-fought but right from the beginning of the second, Sindhu's footwork became increasingly clumsy and she lost to the Spaniard in 19-21, 10-21.
Winning silver yet again, Sindhu stood there with a blank gaze. Little did she know that a year later, her eyes would be brimming with happy tears as the National Anthem will be played during the medal ceremony in her honour and her golden dream would come true.
The year in between has been crucial for the Hyderabadi ace. With 6 BWF Grand Prix titles and 3 BWF Superseries titles already collected in her happening career, Sindhu showed the mark of a true champion as she began to prepare for the 2019 season.
The first hint that showcased her invincible form arrived with the 2018 BWF World Tour Finals where she demolished the very same opponent, Nozomi Okuhara and also edged the-then World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying in a classic. The gold medal win at the World Tour Finals was enough to garner in Sindhu the much-needed impetus and confidence to improve her form.
The initial half of 2019 was, however, not kind to the Pullela Gopichand student as she delivered a series of near-miss performances. It was only at the Indonesia Open later in July that Sindhu found her invincible side again. In the semi-finals, she defeated Chen Yufei fair and square in 21-19, 21-10 and stormed into the final to meet Akane Yamaguchi.
Sadly, Yamaguchi's aggressive style of play left Sindhu a tad confused as she settled for a silver yet again after 51 minutes of play. The Japanese prevailed over Sindhu 21-15, 21-16.
It sparked Sindhu's resurgence and right from the quarters of the World Championships, Sindhu has been stirred ablaze with determination. She came back from nowhere in the match against Tai Tzu Ying and gave her a taste of her own medicine when she defeated the player from Chinese Taipei, 12-21, 23-21, 21-19.
After this nail-biting win, it was obvious that Sindhu would not be settling for anything less than the gold. Sindhu then went on a rampage in the semi-finals and defeated the All England Open winner, Chen Yufei with a one-sided score of 21-7, 21-14.
Having been the second-best on too many occasions than one, Sindhu's challenge in the final was with herself more than the third-seeded Japanese, Nozomi Okuhara. Her performance in the semi-finals was a prelude to the final showdown against Okuhara. The match, which lasted just about 37 minutes, was nothing short of a masterclass from the lanky Hyderabadi.
All throughout the final, Okahura struggled to find her footing and Sindhu was in no mood to make mistakes as she played ruthlessly well, adamant on taking vengeance for the 2017 Glasgow World Championships finale defeat to the very same opponent.
Okahura's cries of despair and her flabbergasted expressions were enough to convey that it was PV Sindhu's day and that she was en route to gaining her Midas touch back. In a very convincing and one-sided affair, Sindhu defeated Nozomi 21-7, 21-7, leaving the former gold medallist stunned.
By winning the gold, PV Sindhu became the first Indian to have captured it and thereby created history. But more than that, this was a personal victory for the ace shuttler because Sindhu has finally learnt to tame her demons and overthrow them, one smash at a time.
PV Sindhu has taught us all a lesson by winning the yellow metal. There is no end to believing in your true potential. Settling for the second best is never an option, it's just a temporary couch you must learn to get up from and begin the quest towards capturing your golden dreams, much like Sindhu expertly demonstrated.