Pusarla Venkata Sindhu - This is the name that has now been etched in the golden letters for India's badminton history. From making a mark by surprising the then Olympic champion Li Xuerui barely a month or two after her win at the 2012 London Olympics to becoming the first Indian shuttler to have entered the finals of the Olympics, the World Championships and the BWF Super Series Finals, the 22-year old has come a long way. Touted to be the successor of Saina Nehwal, she has arguably left even her idol far behind in terms of her achievements.
However, there is one thing that is plaguing Sindhu since 2016. It all started with the Rio Olympics where Sindhu stormed into the finals of the women's singles by pummeling stalwarts like Wang Yihan and Nozomi Okuhara on the way. However, in the final, she surprisingly lost the advantage over her Spanish opponent Carolina Marin despite winning the first set.
Almost a year later, at the 2017 BWF World Championships held at Glasgow, Sindhu suffered the jinx again. This time around, she lost to Okuhara in the final. Interestingly, she had once defeated the Japanese shuttler during the Rio Olympics. Sindhu was leading in the final set by a margin of 20-18 when Okuhara bounced back to win four consecutive points to clinch both the match and the World Championship.
Now at the Dubai World Superseries Finals, Sindhu has lost yet another golden opportunity to win a major title. Despite having a first set lead, she lost to Akane Yamaguchi by 21-15, 12-21, 19-21. The attacking prowess, which had been a typical feature of her game, was absent when she faced her Japanese opponent in the summit clash.
The upcoming year is an action packed one for Sindhu. She will be involved in plenty of prominent tournaments such as Uber Cup, World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. One can only hope that she gets over her final phobia soon and continues to make India proud in badminton.Published 17 Dec 2017, 21:25 IST