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Badminton World Championships: PV Sindhu becomes first Indian to win title

Bengaluru, August 25: It was third time lucky for PV Sindhu as she created history by beating Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 to clinch her maiden World Badminton Championships title at Basel, Switzerland, on Sunday (August 25), incidentally becoming the first Indian to accomplish the feat.

In a way, it was a sweet revenge for Sindhu, who had lost to Okuhara 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 in the final of the 2017 World Badminton Championships held in Glasgow.

That epic 110-minute final at Glasgow went down as one of the greatest battles in badminton history.

In stark contrast, the Basel title clash was one of the most one-sided World Badminton Championship finals as it took Sindhu just 38 minutes to pummel her much fancied opponent into submission.

Sindhu, who had claimed successive silver in the last two editions (lost to Spain's Carolina Mariin in 2018), of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) sanctioned tournament beside two bronze, raised her game a notch high against the world No.4 Okuhara.

"I dedicate this medal to my mother. It's her birthday today. A big thanks to my coach Pullela Gopichand and my support staff," Sindhu said in her hour of glory.

Sindhu's mother Vijaya, who watched the match from hometwon Hyderabad felt elated, "We're very happy, we were waiting for that gold medal. She trained hard for this," she was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.

Earlier in the semifinals, she had defeated China's world No.3 and All England Badminton champion Chen Yu Fei 21-7, 21-14 in a 40-minute encounter while Okuhara beat Thailand's Ratanchok Inaton 17-21, 21-18, 21.15.

With the emphatic win, the 24-year-old improved her head-to-head record against Okuhara to 9-7 advantage in 16 career meetings. The Indian had beaten the Japanese on her way to the Indonesia Open final last month and in Basel it looked as though she was continuing from there. The only blemish looked like the loss in the 2017 Worlds final.

Encomiums started pouring in with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself taking to Twitter to congratulate Sindhu on her phenomenal achievement.

Overall, it was Sindhu's fifth World Championships medal -- joint most for a woman singles player with China's former Olympics and world champion Zhang Ning -- to go with the two successive silvers and a couple of bronze medals

Sindhu has also won an Olympic silver in 2016 Rio Games, a silver at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, an Asian Games silver at Jakarta and the BWF World Tour Finals last year.

It was India's second medal in the Badminton World Championships 2019. Earlier in the men's section, B Sai Praneet had gone down 13-21, 8-21 to Japan's world No.1 Kento Momota in the semifinal to settle for a bronze.

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Story first published: Sunday, August 25, 2019, 18:08 [IST]
Other articles published on Aug 25, 2019