In terms of making a special occasion more special, it could not get better than this. PV Sindhu won the first World Badminton championship Gold for Mother India. The gold medal was also a birthday gift for her mother, P Vijaya, who herself has been an India volleyball player.
“It cannot get better than this,” gushed Vijaya.
The seeds of the Basel triumph, in my view, were sown in Jakarta. Last month, PV Sindhu rushed through Nozomi Okuhara in the quarter-finals of the Indonesian Open 21-14, 21-17 in just 41 minutes, making it the fastest victory Sindhu had scored over her higher-ranked Japanese opponent. But if Jakarta was a swift job, the final of the World Championship saw Sindhu move into top gear and do a demolition job. 21-7, 21-7 in 36 minutes meant the girl from Hyderabad had operated in another orbit.
Players get on to court with a Plan A, B and C. But on Sunday, such was the rigour with which Sindhu implemented Plan A that there wasn’t the need to fall back on options.
The gameplan involved putting Okuhara on the defensive from the word go, push her continuously to the back of the court to stretch her and force her to use the backhand more. The extra split second that this ploy gave Sindhu each time, ensured she had more time to play a better net game. In short, Sindhu did not let Okuhara into the game right from the word go.
“I would say she did a Carolina Marin on court today,” analysed R Ramakrishnan of Baseline, who handles Sindhu’s brand endorsements.
Vijaya says the turning point for Sindhu in the World championship was her quarter final victory over World number 2, Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan.
“In that match, the way she used her brain to come back after losing the first game in a very tightly contested game, she showed her class and temperament. It showed her self-confidence,” Vijaya told Filter Kaapi.
The title win also got the monkey off Sindhu’s back that she had lost out on the gold in the previous two editions of the World championship where she had to settle for the silver.