Badminton in India has found a new name to shine. Sindhu’s brilliant run in the 2013 World Badminton Championships has warmed the hearts of badminton lovers in the country…
It came after an agonisingly long time. Thirty years to be precise. On August 10, a lazy Saturday afternoon a young Hyderabadi teenager did what Indiagreatest badminton star, Prakash Padukone achieved in the summer of 1983 in Copenhagen. PV Sindhu, all of 18 years, created history when she became the first Indian to win a medal in the women’s singles category at the 2013 World Championships in Guangzhou, China.
Sindhu’s medal clinching feat was full of drama and upsets. Before winning India the bronze medal Sindhu sensationally ousted the world no. 2 Wang Yihan 21-18, 23-21 in less than an hour to comfortably march into the quarterfinals. A day later, Sindhu staged yet another upset win over World No. 1 and local favourite Shixian Wang to progress to the semis. While India’s hopes were pinned on their Olympic medalist Saina Nehwal, Sindhu, having played inarguably the most enthralling match of her career so far, ensured India of that elusive singles medal.
But Sindhu’s spectacular run in the 2013 World Badminton Championships culminating into a historic medal is not the beginning of her story. It is a mere pause in a journey which started several years back. The story begins when a six year old Sindhu, inspired by the success of Pullela Gopichand at the 2001 All England Badminton Championships, expressed her desire to learn the game further. PV Ramana and P Vijaya, both national volleyball players, wholeheartedly supported their daughter’s pursuit and Sindhu got started under the guidance of Mehboob Ali at the badminton courts of Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications in the southern city of Secundrabad.
Her desire to excel would drive her roughly 50 kilometers everyday from home to her new training base, her idol Gopichand’s badminton academy in Hyderabad. When the travel started to take a toll on her, Gopichand advised Sindhu’s parents to shift base closer to the academy in Hyderabad. The supportive father happily obliged.
A quick learner, Sindhu picked up several titles and trophies in next three years but her breakthrough achievement came in 2009 when he finished with a bronze at the Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships in Colombo. Sindhu clinched silver at the 2010 Iran Fajr International Badminton Challenge in the singles category and ended the year with a quarterfinal finish at the Junior World Badminton Championships held in Mexico.
Sindhu hogged limelight in the international circuit when she stunned the 2012 London Olympics gold medalist, China’s Li Xuerui 21-19, 9-21, 21-16 to march into the semifinals of the China Masters Super Series in 2012. After a disappointing 2nd round exit in the Japan Open, Sindhu was defeated in the finals of the 77th Senior National Badminton Championships held at Srinagar. Little did anyone know that the determined 17-year old was carrying a knee injury from China Open.
Sindhu started the year 2013 with her career best ranking of 15 and justified the rise with her maiden Grand Prix Gold title when she defeated Singapore’s Juan Gu 21-17, 17-21, 21-19 at the Malaysian Open. The Hyderabadi girl, who is supported by Olympic Gold Quest, a non-profit foundation that identifies and supports Indian athletes, then shook the badminton world with two of the most awe-inspiring upsets at the 2013 BWF World Championships. This is one 18-year-old even Saina would be rooting for.
– India Syndicate
Saina Nehwal : ‘I`ve Crossed the Stage of Feeling Disappointed’
An upset stomach spoilt her campaign at the World Championship recently but India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal is not too upset and said she has crossed the stage of feeling disappointed. The 23-year-old from Hyderabad missed a chance to grab the bronze at the World Championship in China after she suffered a 21-23 9-21 loss to Korean Yeon Ju Bae in the quarterfinals of the prestigious event. Asked if she was disappointed to miss the bronze, Saina said: “I am not disappointed. I was just unwell so I can`t really feel disappointed. I have really crossed the stage to feel disappointed.”
“I am doing really well and I am happy with the way I am playing. It is just a time of luck and when you have luck, you can pull off matches. Look how Ratchanok (Inthanon) pulled off the match against Li Xuerui,” said Saina. While she missed out, her younger colleague P V Sindhu went on a gaint killing spree and clinched the bronze in her maiden World Championship appearance. The 18-year-old was rewarded for her achievement as she was picked her for the Arjuna award.
Asked about Sindhu receiving the Arjuna Award, Saina said: “It`s natural when you win something at international level, you will get the award. So it was nothing new. It is good that she won the bronze medal there after beating two Chinese players. I wish her all the best.” Sindhu and Thailand`s Ratchanok Inthanon are the two players who have beaten the Chinese and won the bronze and gold respectively at the World Championship, a rare feat considering the domination of China.
Saina said: “It is not easy to beat the Chinese. Sometimes it happens that by luck you beat Chinese in a tournament. They won`t give up. They will get back. They have a very strong team”. “It is good news that we did really well in this tournament and Ratchanok also pulled off the gold. But otherwise, for me, it is not really easy to beat the Chinese,” Saina said.
Asked about Sindhu, who also would be reaching the top 10 soon after her performance at World Championship, Saina said: “I was always confident. I have been saying from the very beginning that we all have the capability of doing it.
“The thought and belief is important and I think now they are showing the belief. Sindhu and Kashyap have already done that and now the next player is Gurusaidutt, who is doing well, then there is Ajay Jayaram, K Srikanth. All of them are doing well. Most of them are in top 30 now. I hope the way Chinese are having 6-7 players at top 10, we too will have players in the top bracket,” she added.
Asked if it is less lonely at the top 10 now that Sindhu is all set to enter the elite bracket, Saina said: “I think for the last six years I have been playing alone. So even that stage has crossed. So I am not feeling anything. I am happy everyone is doing well and Indian badminton is moving forward,” the London Olympic bronze medallist said.
Asked about IBL, Saina said: “IBL is a good thing. It is good for money and fame. It will put players in the limelight but the players should continue performing well,” she said.