PV Sindhu becomes first Indian to win BWF world championships gold

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Switzerland: PV Sindhu on Sunday became the first Indian to win badminton World Championships gold by beating familiar rival Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a lop-sided final here on Sunday

The Indian won 21-7 21-7 in the summit clash that lasted just 38 minutes

Two years after being robbed off the gold by Okuhara in an epic 110-minute final at Glasgow that went down as one of the greatest battles in badminton history, Sindhu finally exorcised the ghost of that heart-wrenching loss with a completely dominating win over the same opponent

It was Sindhu’s fifth World Championships medal — joint most for a woman singles player with former Olympics and world champion Zhang Ning of China — to go with the two successive silvers and a couple of bronze medals

Sindhu has also won an Olympic silver in 2016 Rio Games, a silver at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, an Asian Games silver at Jakarta and the BWF World Tour Finals last year.

The last time Sindhu and Okuhara met in a World Championships final was in 2017. In a pulsating encounter that lasted nearly two hours and involved a 73-shot rally, Okuhara emerged victorious in the end. Sindhu again reached the final in 2018, only to go down to Carolina Marin of Spain. However, she finally broke the jinx this time, brushing aside her opponent with a dominant show from start to finish.

In stark contrast to world No. Sindhu, the Japanese world No. 4 on Sunday looked completely at sea against the Indian star’s relentless attacks.

Although Okuhara won the first point of the first game, Sindhu won eight straight points after that to race to a 8-1 lead. Okuhara managed just one more point before the interval with Sindhu leading 11-2.

The mauling continued for much of the second period of the opener, which ended in just 16 minutes. Okuhara got a few consecutive points towards the end to extend her score to 7 but Sindhu sealed the issue on her first game point.

In the second game, Okuhara briefly kept pace until the score was 3-2 in Sindhu’s favour after which the Indian took six consecutive points to race to a 9-2 lead.

Okuhara won two more points but Sindhu kept her foot on the pedal and went into the interval with a 11-4 lead.

This was the 16th match between Sindhu and Okuhara. Sindhu now leads 9-7 head-to-head, including three victories in the last five meetings before Sunday’s clash.

Both players had not won a title this year. While Okuhara reached the final after a hard-fought 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 win against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, Sindhu swatted aside China’s Chen Yu Fei 21-7, 21-14 in her semifinal clash.

This is Sindhu’s fifth medal at the World Championships, which is the joint highest in women’s singles in the history of the tournament along with Xhang Ning of China, a two-time Olympic gold medallist. Apart from the two silvers, Sindhu won in the last two editions, she had also won the bronze in 2013 and 2014.

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