At just 23, PV Sindhu establishes herself as one of India's greatest sportsperson of this generation. The ace shuttler from Hyderabad scripted history on Sunday as she became India's first-ever World Champion shuttler defeating Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7, a feat that has been eluding Sindhu for the past two years.
The fifth-seeded Sindhu, who has a career-high ranking of number 3, has been the most successful badminton player for India with a silver in the Olympics, a Commonwealth Games gold medal, Asian Games bronze medal, as well as a recipient of the Padma Shri, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the nation's highest sporting honour.
The BWF World Championship holds a special place in Sindhu's heart, which is probably her favourite hunting ground where she has now amassed five medals - more than any other Indian shuttler, equalling the record of China's Zhang Ning, the most by a female shuttler at the BWF World Championship.
In 2013, Sindhu won her first medal of the tournament in Guangzhou China. Then a 10th seeded Sindhu was just 18-years old but went on to defeat the heavyweight Chinese battalion on their home turf. In the third round, she defeated second-seeded Wang Yihan in straight games, which was followed by a quarterfinals win against Wang Shixian, whom she again defeated in just two sets. Sindhu bowed out in the semi-final tie going down 21-10, 21-13 against Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon. 2013 was just the beginning for the Hyderabadi ace.
The next year, Sindhu picked up another bronze where she went on to defeat Olga Golovanova and Bae Youn Joo. In the semi-final Sindhu met her familiar foe and her Achille's heel, Spaniard Carolina Marin who got the better off the Indian 21-17 and 21-15. Marin also went on to win the gold that year.
After successive bronze medals, Sindhu's silver hunt began in 2017 in Glasgow, where she defeated China's Sun Yu in the quarters and the in-form Chen Yu Fei in the semifinals. She faced Okuhara in the final, which still remains one of the greatest matches in the history of the sports, ending 21-19, 20-22 and 22-20. It was game of narrow margins that decided the fate of Sindhu's medal. In 2018, she again reached the final but was denied the elusive gold by Marin who won 21-19 and 21-10.
Today's victory bears the testament of Sindhu's unflinching perseverance which won her the gold after so much of endurance. In the quarters and semis, Sindhu held her nerves against Tai Tzu Ying and Chen Yu Fei, respectively. The victory is historic, and no one from India has ever reached this pinnacle and hope it becomes the shot-in-the-arm moment before Tokyo 2020 Olympics.