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A true blue shuttler

A true blue shuttler
Highlights

To the overbearing Indian sports fan, Friday had a mixed dose of luck. First, they woke up with the horrifying news that Narsingh Yadav has been suspended from competitive wrestling for four years. 

To the overbearing Indian sports fan, Friday had a mixed dose of luck. First, they woke up with the horrifying news that Narsingh Yadav has been suspended from competitive wrestling for four years.

The night ended with the heart-breaking news of P V Sindhu finishing second best in what was easily an absorbing title clash that was worthy of the biggest sports spectacle in the universe.

However, Sindhu remains the toast of the nation for the fabulous manner she reached this stage and for going down with guns blazing.

It was a tad unfortunate that she lost the script midway through the second game after having pocketed the first against the reigning world champion Carolina Marin with whom she now has a 3-5 record in head-t0-head showdowns.

Nicknamed ‘Rafael Nadal’ of badminton back home, the Spanish southpaw staged a magnificent recovery to clinch the issue 19-21, 21-12, 21-15, leaving millions of Indians heart-broken.

She may have lost the gold medal match but if one sees her outing at Rio from a pragmatic angle, one will appreciate that she accomplished several firsts. Her stature as a true-blue shuttler has increased by several notches.

Today, she is the perfect role model for the next generation of players and that alone is enough to put her at the highest pedestal. Even with the silver, she is part of Olympic history. She occupies a place that her more illustrious predecessors were not able to.

The popularity of Sindhu was such that as the underdog going into the match, the 21-year-old Olympic debutant was lustily cheered by the vociferous crowd. Alas, she wilted under pressure and perhaps was trapped in her own game against an inspired opponent, who is endowed with an astonishing game.

As of now, rather than mourn the loss of the gold medal, Indians should rejoice the fact that the silver lining can serve as the new benchmark for Indian badminton, particularly for the budding shuttlers who have been idolising only Saina Nehwal till now. This is despite Sindhu’s trail-blazing showings in World Championships.

An outstanding product from the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy, the only area where Sindhu ought to focus on is in maintaining a more consistent win-rate. It has often been noticed that the tall girl gets carried away by the occasion, which has seen her rout title contenders one day and lose to rank outsiders or those way below her in international rankings the very next day.

This is where Sindhu has to change her approach, which, hopefully, Gopichand will try to work on. However, even as there is a remorse for her having lost the race for the gold, we all should salute the young girl for keeping country’s flag flying high.

After all, the world number 10 lost to the numero uno and that too after giving her best shot at the yellow metal. Taken at face value, the Hyderabad girl post-Rio is now on the threshold from where she should only aspire to climb higher and add value to Brand Sindhu.

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