Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics: India's PV Sindhu aims for historic second medal

Filed on July 20, 2021
Indian badminton star PV Sindhu. (AP file)

The badminton event will start on July 24 at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza in Tokyo

Reigning world champion and Rio silver medallist, PV Sindhu, is aiming to continue the trend of returning with Olympic medal after achieving success in the last two editions of the Games.

The badminton event will start on July 24 at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza in the Japanese capital.

India’s biggest medal hope, Sindhu, will hope to get off to a flying start.

Sindhu transcended all expectations and became a household name after her unprecedented run at the Rio Olympics, where she went a step ahead of her senior pro Saina Newhal's London bronze medal with a first-ever silver on debut.

Five years have passed since then and the 26-year-old Sindhu will look to use her experience to bring home India's first gold in badminton.

Since Rio, the Hyderabad shuttler has consistently reached the finals of major events, including the 2017 World Championship, where she played the second-longest match of women's singles, clocking 110minutes in the summit clash against Japan's Nozomi Okuhara.

She settled for a silver and a year later again had to be satisfied with another runner-up finish at the World Championship in Nanjing, after going down to Olympic champion Carolina Marin.

She also made it to the summit clashes of the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games in 2018 but her failure to cross the final hurdle briefly got her the choker's tag.

But a relentless Sindhu silenced her critics by becoming the only Indian shuttler to claim the prestigious season-ending World Tour Finals in 2018 and a year later won the World Championship title in Basel.

She will enter Tokyo as the favourite to win the gold, especially after the withdrawal of injured Marin, who had stopped her run last time.

However, in the run-up to the Olympics, Sindhu didn't have a great outing this year with just one final appearance at the Swiss Open and a semifinal finish at All England as both ended with demoralising losses against Marin and Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong.

But Sindhu has always been a big match player. She has worked on her weak defence under new foreign coach Park Tae-sang to be in the best shape for the Olympics.

A look at the draw and Sindhu shouldn't have any problem in getting across Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi (ranked 34th) and Israel's Ksenia Polikarpova (ranked 58th) and top Group J.

Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt, whom she is likely to meet in pre-quarters, should also not pose much trouble, given Sindhu's superior 4-1 record.

Sindhu is expected to face World No. 5 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, who she has beaten at All England recently, in the quarterfinals.

If she wins that, Sindhu’s semifinal rival could be Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying, the world no 1 who Park considers as the Indian’s fiercest rival for the Olympic gold.

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