World Badminton Championships 2017: PV Sindhu becomes the first Indian to reach World Championships and Olympics finals
A year after making it through to the Rio Olympics final, Indian shuttler PV Sindhu created yet more history by becoming the first Indian to reach the final at both the World Badminton Championships and the Olympics. The 22-year-old achieved this feat by swatting away the reigning world junior champion Chen Yufei 21-13, 21-10 in the semi-finals of the world meet at Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday night.
The only other Indian to have made it to the summit clash of the World Championships so far has been the other Indian shuttle queen, Saina Nehwal. But Saina’s best Olympic performance has been only a semi-final appearance which gave her the bronze in London five years ago.
A year of consistency following Rio success
Sindhu, whose results used to be up and down prior to the Rio Games, used her Olympic glory as the platform to build her consistency in stunning fashion. The Pullela Gopichand protégé added the China Open Superseries Premier, the India Open Superseries and the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold to her glittering resume to ascend to her career-best ranking of World No. 2 in the subsequent months.
She rode on that success to arrive at Glasgow as one of the biggest favourites for the title. Except for a blip in the third round, the lanky Hyderabadi has so far been highly impressive and has won three out of her four matches in straight games.
Her dazzling run to the final not only guaranteed her of her third medal from the Worlds but will also allow her to change the colour of it this time. In 2013 and 2014, a teenaged Sindhu had to be content with just a bronze from this elite meet.
Eyes on gold now
Her stupendous display against the ninth seeded Chen Yufei in the semi-finals left the 19-year-old Chinese absolutely shell-shocked and has raised hopes of a possible gold medal for India for the first time.
She will have to be at her flawless best to puncture the defensive wall of the seventh seed and Australian Open champion Nozomi Okuhara, who edged Saina Nehwal in the other semi-final, leaving the Indian with just a bronze medal.