Sindhu writes golden chapter in silver letters

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(Valentine Wilson)

A new gem has been discovered in the City of pearls.  She is 21-year old PV Sindhu, the lanky hyderabadi lass, who created history by becoming the first Indian woman to secure a silver medal in the Olympic Games at Rio.

Expectations were high when Sindhu made the final where she clashed with world number one Carolina Marin of Spain.  Her semifinal victory over Japan’s  Noazomi Okuhara raised tremendous hopes for Sindhu’s success in the finals.

Sindhu may have lost the gold but she won many a heart with her lionhearted performance. There must have been some disappointment but the silver medal was more  than satisfying and consoling.

With Saina Nehewal forced out of the reckoning losing in the early rounds, Sindhu took up the  cudgels  of  getting on to the podium.  She progressed well taking it round after round to reach the finals. An epic battle ensued with neither Marin nor Sindhu giving away any quarter.

Every point was cheered but that flicker of hope which the Hyderabadi girl raised soon faded out.  The glitter of gold turned silver, momentarily disappointing herself and her supporters.   When Sindhu entered the court with a smile on her face, there was a prayer on every Indian’s lips seeking divine intervention for her success.   Alas, it was not to be.  The grim reality took time to sink in.

There was disappointment but not dejection or sadness. Sindhu knew that she was guaranteed a silver and went all guns blazing for the gold.   The intent was there but the magic had failed.  She covered the court well, but her phenomenal reach deserted her on a few occassion and that did her in. Sindhu is definitely a much-improved player.

As she showed in the earlier rounds, there was a ruthlessness in her approach, yet there was that delicate roll of the wrist as she played the subtle net hugging drops.  The whiplash like backhand flicks, powerful horizontal smashes, mesmerising forehand strokes had many of her opponents on the wrong foot.

But, the loss notwithstanding, the fact that she had won the silver medal had brought a lot of cheer.  The joy came back.  Sindhu became an instant toast of the nation.  Accolades started pouring in and the celeberations have started and will take some time to end.  A rousing reception on her arrival for the badminton queen will be accorded.  The State Government has announced Rs one crore as reward. It will be a windfall for her now and no one will grudge.  The daughter of sporting parents PV Ramana and Vijaya , Sindhu has not only done them, coach Gopi Chand proud but the entire country.

Sindhu’s epic journey has been one of intense hard work, dedication, discipline, determination and fortitude. She had to make a lot of sacrifices giving up on all the desires and temptations as a teenager.   Her training regimen in particular was under such scrutiny that neither her coach nor her parents let her miss out on her schedules. Whether it is fitness or diet, Coach Gopi Chand monitored and took that extra care.  Sindhu gave up her love for the Hyderabadi delicacy Biryani and sweets.

Though all credit should go to Sindhu for his great chapter in Indian badminton history,  coach Gopi Chand’s contribution in her saga of triumph and glory has been the sole underling factor.

Of course, the parents, the association, team mates,  sponsors and well wishers have supported her tooth and nail, the coach’s role in defining and refining Sindhu’s odyssey just cannot be denied.

He took extra special care and paid great attention in grooming the immensely talented girl, whom he knew would make it big the moment her parents brought her to his academy.  Sindhu is indeed another feather in Gopi’s cap.  That she has written a golden chapter in silver letters in Rio is testimony enough.

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