After three attempts and 13 years of toil, Sindhu tastes singles gold in Commonwealth Games
Glasgow 2014 bronze, Gold Coast 2018 silver and Birmingham 2022 gold, PV Sindhu has finally achieved what she has been longing for at the Commonwealth Games.
But the yellow metal didn't come easy for Sindhu. It took her three attempts, 13 years of toil, and many sacrifices to claim the top prize at the multi-sport event. Sindhu had won a gold in the mixed team event at the CWG in 2018, but it has been eluding her in singles since her Games debut.
But on Monday, the world number seven outplayed 13th ranked Michelle Li of Canada 21-15, 21-13 in front of a packed crowd at the NEC arena to fulfil her long-cherished dream.
"I've been waiting for this (gold) for a long time now. Of course I'm super happy. "I've finally done it. From day one it was important to keep my tempo high and be confident that I can do it," an elated Sindhu said after claiming the top honour.
"We've waited four years now and we're finally here. The Commonwealth Games was really good for me, it was a good tournament." Contrary to the final scoreline, Sindhu said overcoming Li was not an easy task. "It was very important to be very focused and in the rhythm. We know each other's game. There are no easy points so even though I was leading I made sure I was very focused."
The double Olympic medallist said she would take a short break now to re-energise herself before her next goal -- the World Championships -- to be held in Tokyo from August 21 to 28.
"I have the world championships soon, so I'm hoping for the best there. I need to enjoy this moment, take a bit of a break and come back stronger again," Sindhu said.
Sindhu said she can't wait to return home and celebrate her success with her parents.
"Definitely I'm going to celebrate. We will just go out as a team or something like that. I'll go back to India and celebrate with my family members. Soon we're going to go back home and I'm going to celebrate with my parents. They've really supported me and they're back there watching the match. It will really mean the world to meet them, it's their hard work and dedication, too," she said.
Lakshya Sen, who won the men's singles gold, rated the CWG medal as one of the "top ones" in his short international career so far.
"Each one of them has its own importance but this is one of the top ones," said Sen, who has a World Championships bronze and a Youth Olympic Games gold to his kitty.
Sen threw his racket in the crowd after claiming the gold and he said it was just an instantaneous reaction.
"I didn't really plan it well, everything was just coming to me, I just did it."
The 20-year-old shuttler from Almora lost the first game before getting his act right to emerge 19-21, 21-9, 21-16 winner over Malaysia's Ng Tze Young.
"The length was not very good in the first game. In the second game I got a good length and tried to play more freely. That worked. The third game was all about keeping the nerves and maintaining that three-point lead the whole time," Sen said.
"He (Young) won the first set and he had an advantage or luxury to not play that second set and to focus on the third game if he was not doing so well. "I just focused on getting the lead and keeping the lead. When I got it I thought, 'now I have to not give him any easy points', and as the lead grew he gave up on the points and that gave me a lot of confidence," he said.
"The first five, six points were very important. Then he just gave up, he was trying to conserve his energy for the third game because I don't think he could see a light at the end of the tunnel for the second set. Then he came back very motivated for the third set."