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Epoch making day

Epoch making day
Highlights

In a superstitious country like India, most sportspersons dread the number 13 and believe that it is the ‘perennial’ unlucky number. However, the myth has been shattered by two determined and win-obsessed Indian women who brought the country its finest 24 hours in the ongoing Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro on its 13thday. 

In a superstitious country like India, most sportspersons dread the number 13 and believe that it is the ‘perennial’ unlucky number. However, the myth has been shattered by two determined and win-obsessed Indian women who brought the country its finest 24 hours in the ongoing Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro on its 13thday.

It is strange that what was looking as a woefully bad Olympic outing has suddenly given birth to a new-found optimism, thanks to the brilliance of an almost unheralded wrestler Sakshi Malik and badminton’s proven poster-girl P V Sindhu. The picture takes a more complete shape when one adds the elegance of Dipa Karmakar. It is good that it is women power that will rule the nation’s sports fraternity, the tragic setbacks to Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza, notwithstanding.

If one takes a pragmatic view of the two news makers, who with their medal showings have restored the country’s respectability, one ought to give more credit to Sakshi as she remains largely unknown outside the wrestling fraternity despite a silver medal in Commonwealth Games.

The Haryana wrestler exhibited a come-from-behind gutsy side that is the stuff of legends. Trailing 0-5 and making a comeback to actually win the coveted bronze when everything appeared lost is a fairytale that will get cemented in Indian folklore.

She did not just open India’s account at Rio by winning the 58kg freestyle class but became the first Indian woman wrestler to have scaled such a dizzy height on the biggest canvas in sports history. As an extraordinary feat, her achievement will make for a truly inspirational story.

Sindhu has always been the better bet in badminton with her stroke-making abilities and court coverage. The two-time bronze medallist at the World Championships, something no male can boast of, evidence the lanky Hyderabad girl’s talent. Unlike her senior Nehwal, who walked out on mentor-coach Pullela Gopichand, Sindhu trusted the coach and followed his regimen as would any disciplined protégé.

In a way, an extraordinary Olympic showing was but a natural graduation for Sindhu, who has now reached a group that even the likes of Prakash Padukone, Gopichand and Nehwal have not been able to. The Sindhu chapter at Rio is not finished yet. Having made it to the finals, she will carry the hopes of a billion people, who will be praying that she will settle for nothing less than the yellow metal.

There is also no denying that the two girls have lifted the spirits of every Indian with their superlative performances. Both have shown that determination that gets laced with an overwhelming self-belief can work wonders even at the biggest stage.

After the agonizing period of gloom that was made worse by the humiliation suffered by the big guns, Sakshi and Sindhu come as whiffs of fresh air that hopefully will rub onto the wrestlers when they take the stage in the climatic stages of the Games. Hopefully, Sindhu will also draw further inspiration. Kudos to Sakshi and Sindhu for delivering the sweetest Raksha Bandhan gifts to the nation!

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