Indian badminton star PV Sindhu beat Canada’s Michelle Li to win the women’s singles gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham. This is the first-ever Commonwealth Games singles gold of Sindhu’s career, after settling for bronze in Glasgow 2014, and silver in Gold Coast 2018.
The 27-year-old had heavy strappings on her legs that hindered her court coverage in the beginning. But she got into the rhythm quickly and sauntered past the opponents in two straight sets with a scoreline of 21-15, 21-13.
With this performance, Sindhu has etched her name as the most dominant individual athlete from India. Still 27, her next target is to change the colour of her one bronze and one silver Olympics medal at the Paris 2024.
It wasn’t the most fluent of starts from Sindhu, who struggled to outlast Li in the longer rallies. But she soon changed her strategy, and went for an attack at the first opportunity, making it difficult for her opponents to settle into the rhythms.
At 6-6, the Indian shuttler won eight consecutive points to race away to 15-8. Li offered some resistance in the latter half of the first set, but it was not enough to prevent Sindhu from taking a 1-0 lead. She rode on the momentum gained from the first set, and negated Li’s strategy of attacking her body with brilliant footwork, to kill the game in the second set.
Eight years ago in Glasgow, when Sindhu settled for a bronze, her opponents Li eventually finished with a gold. But the Canadian shuttler couldn’t replicate her performances against a more versatile and matured version of Sindhu.
Sindhu now boasts five World Championships medals, two Olympics medals, two Asia Cup medals, five CWG medals, two Uber Cup medals, and numerous titles at other prestigious tournaments.
Tributes poured in for Sindhu, led by the prime minister Narendra Modi, who wrote, “The phenomenal @Pvsindhu1 is a champion of champions! She repeatedly shows what excellence is all about. Her dedication and commitment is awe-inspiring. Congratulations to her on winning the Gold medal at the CWG. Wishing her the best for her future endeavours.”
One user wrote, “The golds at Asiad and Oly may have eluded her, but even without them, PV Sindhu has now done enough to at least trigger a debate about whether she is India’s greatest ever athlete in individual sport.”
Australian cricketer David Warner’s wife, Candice, too congratulated the Indian star on her achievement.
Lead Image: PV Sindhu/Instagram