Rio Olympics: PV Sindhu creates history, first woman to win Olympic silver

By: Harpal Singh Bedi
Updated: 20 Aug 2016 12:29 AM
Rio de Janeiro: Amid nerve-wracking tension, luck deserted PV Sindhu, when she needed the most as the 23-year-old Indian failed to cross the final frontier and went down to Carolina Marin of Spain 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in the Olympic badminton final to settle for silver here on Friday.

This silver helped India to move up to the 57th place in the medal tally.


Sindhu, in the process, became the fourth Indian to win Olympic silver. The first was shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2004 and he was followed by shooter Vijay Kumar and wrestler Sushil Kumar both in 2008 London Olympics.

Spain's Carolina Marin celebrates after defeating India's V. Sindhu Pusarla in the women's badminton singles gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)

In the 82-minute energy-sapping final, Sindhu gave her best against the world No. 1. And was in the contest till the end.

Sindhu played with tremendous self-belief and having beaten Marin in their last meeting at the Denmark Open, the Indian went into the final for the last slaying.

“I played well, though I wanted to win but I could not,” Sndhu said after her match.

“I am proud of what I have achieved. Silver is no mean achievement in the Olympics.”

Spain's Carolina Marin, right, embraces India's V. Sindhu Pusarla, left, after Marin won the women's badminton singles gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)

The way Sindhu turned around the first game after trailing 6-12 and then 10-14 was unbelievable display of fighting back qualities.

She then was lagging behind 16-17 but drew parity after being involved in the longest rally of the match, which lasted 49 second exchanging 52 strokes.

This rattled Marin and she committed several unforced errors at this juncture to let Sindhu level at 19-19. Sindhu took advantage of her rival’s tentative play at that moment and picked up two points to wrap up the game 21-19 in 27 minute. The Indian supporters erupted with unbridled joy.

Spain's Carolina Marin, top, celebrates after defeating India's V. Sindhu Pusarla, bottom, in the women's badminton singles gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)

But to be fair to Marin, she was much better than Sindhu in the final. Even in the first game, which she lost, she led till 19-18 before losing it.

Duly chastened after losing the first game, Marin came into the second game with all guns blazing and suddenly Sindhu came under the pressure. The Indian had made it to the final without losing a game and her previous longest match in the competition had lasted 55 minutes against world No. 2 Wang Yihan.

Spain's Carolina Marin, left, and India's V. Sindhu Pusarla leave the court after Marin won their women's badminton singles gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)

The Indian desperately wanted to finish the match in the second game. Marin sensed Sindhu’s desperation and came up with some stunning cross court shots and volleys. The Indian found it hard to retaliate as she was not been given any opening.

Marin led 4-0 and then took the lead to 11-2 before Sindhu was able to snatch few more points. But by then, Marin had virtually established an unbeaten lead. The Spaniard won the game comfortably 21-12 in 21 minutes.

The world No. 1 went into the decider with a plan to tire out her opponent. She made Sindhu run around the court, and using her height, she volleyed the shuttle to the base line. Marin had to pay the price for such a strategy as many of her returns and volleys went wide off the court.

India's V. Sindhu Pusarla sits on the court after losing to Spain's Carolina Marin in the women's badminton singles gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)

After conceding 1-6 lead, Sindhu fought back and her supporters started visualising the repeat of  of the first game as she, after being down 4-7, levelled the score 10-10.

Marin sharpened her attacks as game headed towards its climax and Sindhu came close 13-16 but that was all as Marin picked up five points while conceding two to wrap up the game and the match 21-19.

Spain's Carolina Marin celebrates after defeating India's V. Sindhu Pusarla in the women's badminton singles gold medal match at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)

“It was a tough encounter and I gave my best,” Sindhu said and added, “Marin is a very good player. She played well. I tried to stop her in the third but could not. But I am not complaining.”

“Every player wants to win and in my heart, I was also thinking that only one match is left for the gold but that turned out to be elusive.

“Never mind, it was a good match. I never thought I will ever play in an Olympic final. I am happy with the silver I got,” she added.

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