The pages of badminton history have been kept busy over the last decade with Indian shuttlers exceeding expectations and giving awe-inspiring performances consistently. Badminton flooded the news with the arrival of Saina Nehwal initially and after a long time, the mass engagement was immense.
However, before Nehwal's firestorm could fizzle out, it was a lanky girl from Hyderabad who swooped in to start a brand new chapter of her own, which blazes only more fiercely with every day.
Hailing from a family with a firm background in sports, PV Sindhu announced her arrival in the badminton circuit when she broke into the BWF Top 20 rankings when she was merely 17 years of age in 2012.
By then, the Hyderabadi girl had been learning badminton for nearly a decade at the Gopichand Academy and picked up the tricks to excel at the game very early on in her life.
Stepping into her 24th year today, PV Sindhu has singularly been the torchbearer of Indian badminton over the last few years. She has been on the receiving end of several accolades in her career.
Sindhu has been decorated for her contribution to badminton with a Padma Shri, a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and even an Arjuna Award. In fact, she was bestowed with the honor of being the flagbearer for the Indian contingent during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
As Sindhu turns a year older and casts her eyes towards higher glories, let us have a look at the records she has already conqured -
#1 The first Indian to clinch four World Championship medals
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu was just 18 when she won her first medal at the elusive BWF World Championships. Sindhu's bronze medal win at the Worlds in 2013 was India’s first in women’s singles, a feat which the then-teenager repeated in the next edition as well.
Flash forward to 2017, Sindhu and Nehwal exhibited stunning performances yet again at the Worlds and took home a silver medal. Sindhu has always excelled at the Worlds and in 2018 again, she went down fighting to old foe Spain's Carolina Marin in straight sets to bag a silver. A gold medal eludes the grasp of the Indian top-billed shuttler and she'll surely be on its hunt this year.
#2 Silver medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games
The year 2016 was crucial in the career of PV Sindhu and no wonder, a silver medal finish at the Rio de Janerio Games gave her the right impetus. The entire country cheered for Sindhu as she scaled fresh new heights and entered the finals at the Olympics, a feat not achieved before.
Her opponent was the formidable Carolina Marin and the match which ensued was an intensely tense one spanning over three games. It was the Spaniard who had the last laugh but Sindhu made sure she won plenty of hearts that day when she was decorated with a silver medal.
Sindhu must be eyeing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to lay her hands on the gold for sure.
#3 Played the longest women’s singles final in history of World Championship in 2017
PV Sindhu battled Japanese star player Nozomi Okuhara in the World Championship finals of 2017. The match was a spectacle to some gruesome rallies including a rally which lasted for 73 shots.
Both players gave all they had in the 110-minute long intense match that was played over three games. However, it Okuhara who sealed the win in 21-19, 20-22, 22-20. It was the longest match in the history of World Championships.
#4 She became the first Indian to reach the finals of the Olympics and the World Championships
Sindhu's career is characterised by near-misses all throughout despite her making it to the biggest stages of badminton. She has never been able to win a gold at these coveted events but a silver, she has assured us every now and then.
No other Indian has shuttler has been able to reach the finals of both the Olympics and the Worlds and simply for this, Sindhu needs to be lauded.
#5 Silver medallist at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games 2018
Sindhu created history when she qualified for the finals of the Asian Games in 2018. While Nehwal finished with a bronze medal, Sindhu went on to play Tai Tzu Ying for that elusive gold medal.
However, Sindhu failed to convert that rare chance and had to take home a silver at the Asian Games, for the first ever time in the history of Indian women's badminton.