On this day: PV Sindhu becomes first Indian shuttler to win World Championships gold
After losing in the finals of 2017 and 2018, PV Sindhu on this day in 2019 became the first Indian shuttler to win World Championships gold medal.
PV Sindhu is the only Indian shuttler to win a silver medal at the Olympics. Sindhu clinched the historic medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics after going down to Spain's Carolina Marin in a hard-fought final.
In the following years after her Olympic medal win, Sindhu would go onto register some more ground-breaking exploits at the highest level. In 2017, she became the first Indian shuttler to reach the World Championships final. She would eventually lose in the final to Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in an epic slugfest that lasted for 110 minutes and is still considered to be one of the greatest badminton matches of all time.
She narrowly missed out on the gold medal at the World Championships once again in 2018 after losing to Marin in the final. In the same year, the badminton player from Hyderabad lost the Asian Games women's singles final to Tai Tzu Ying after becoming the first Indian to reach the summit clash at Asiad. She also lost to Saina Nehwal in the final of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
She was winning medals and making history but that gold medal was eluding her. Losing in the finals brought more scrutiny as the shuttler was dubbed as 'Silver Sindhu' in some quarters. That moniker had become a bane for Sindhu.
But in 2019, on this very day, Sindhu finally exorcised that ghost by becoming the first Indian to win World Championships gold.
She did so by taking revenge for her heart-breaking loss in 2017 as she defeated Okuhara in a completely one-sided, winning the contest 21-7, 21-7 to create history. This time the final lasted just 38 minutes.
It was Sindhu's fifth World Championships medal, the joint most for a woman singles player. She holds the record with China's Zhang Ning.
"This is my answer to the people who have asked me questions over and over. I just wanted to answer with my racket and with this win – that's all," was Sindh's response after winning the World Championships gold medal.
In an interview with India cricketers Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues on the talk show Double Trouble in April this year, Sindhu revealed that she was desperate to win the gold medal in 2019 at World Championships as people had started saying that she had a "final phobia".
"In the World Championships (last year), it was my third final, I have also won two bronze. I thought I have to win this at any cost. I was so desperate to win the title. I did not want people to say she lost in final again," Sindhu said.
"I thought no matter what happens, I will give 100 percent and I have to just win this title. There were times people say 'silver Sindhu' about me. Sometimes these things comes to my mind."
After turning the colour of her World Championships medal from silver to gold, Sindhu would now look to do the same with her Olympics medal when the showpiece event gets underway next year in Tokyo.
The world number seven Indian will next play Hong Kong's world number 34 Cheung Ngan Yi in the group stage.
Sindhu added she used the break to learn more and focus on her technique and skills.
Former and current Indian cricketers took to social media to pass on their best wishes to Indian athletes participating in Tokyo Olympics.