India’s badminton star PV Sindhu scripted history on Sunday as she defeated China’s He Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 in the bronze medal play-off at Tokyo 2020. The 26-year-old picked up her second Olympic medal after her silver at Rio 2016 where she stumbled against Spain’s Carolina Marin in the final.
With the win over He Bingjao, Sindhu has become the first Indian female athlete to win two Olympic medals. The 5’10 shuttler, tallest among the women’s top-10 in badminton, had won a silver medal on her Olympic debut at Rio 2016.
Sindhu has also equalled India’s record individual medal haul. She and Sushil Kumar are the only two athletes to have won medals at two Olympics.
Former shuttler Chetan Anand, who won several medals at the Commonwealth Games for India, suggested that while Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-Ying didn’t let Sindhu play her natural game in the semi-final, the Indian badminton star restored normalcy against Bing Jiao with her signature ‘smashes’.
“Sindhu started off well and kept the pressure on He (Bing Jiao). The most important thing was that she did not allow the (semi-final) loss to affect her. Tai was extraordinary which prevented Sindhu from playing her natural game. Today, Sindhu gave no chance to her (opponent) as she always had time to go for her smashes,” Anand told Olympics.com.
Anand believes that Sindhu can definitely compete at another Olympics and it’s her attitude towards badminton as a sport which sets her apart from the rest. He also spoke on the changes seen in Sindhu’s gameplay at Tokyo 2020.
“It is a historic achievement for Sindhu. She deserves huge credit. She has at least one more Olympic left in her. Hope she can do better there. Her mindset in the Olympics sets her apart from the others. In Tokyo, she started firing right from her first match. That puts a lot of pressure on her opponents. Moreover, her movement on the court was absolutely brilliant. These are small points, but they make a huge difference in the outcome,” reasoned the Arjuna award recipient.
Just like H.S.Prannoy had pointed out, Anand too believes that Sindhu will look to win the All England Open, a competition in which she hasn’t won yet in her career.
“Sindhu has won most of the prestigious tournaments. She has two Olympic medals, one World Championship and now she can focus on winning the All England Open. That is the most prestigious title that is yet to be won by her,” said the former world number 10.
However, Anand is concerned that there isn’t much talent coming through the ranks which needs to be looked upon. He also feels that apart from Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, there are no doubles pairs in India who can compete on the international stage.
“Women’s badminton is already on a high. But the problem now is that there is nobody near the level of Saina (Nehwal) or Sindhu, even in the making. That is a major worry, and we need to address it soon. We should also focus on doubles pairs. Apart from Chirag/Satwik, there’s nobody close to the international level. This is also an area of concern,” feels Anand.
August 02, 2021