Indian shuttler PV Sindhu raised serious hopes of ending the country’s long wait for a medal in the Rio Olympics by storming into the semifinals of the women’s singles event with a stunning straight games win over London Games silver medallist Wang Yihan of China.
Sindhu, a two-time World Championship bronze medallist, who came into the match with a 2-4 head-to-head record against her opponent, dished out a compact game to outmanoeuvre the more experienced Wang 22-20, 21-19 in a gruelling battle lasting 54 minutes.
The 21-year-old Indian now stands just a win away from assuring India of an elusive medal at the Rio Olympics. With the memorable win, Sindhu became the second Indian badminton player to reach an Olympic semifinal after Saina Nehwal achieved the feat four years ago.
Sindhu’s win has overshadowed the fresh saga surrounding India’s floundering campaign at the Rio Games on day 11 after the World Anti-Doping Agency lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sports against the clean chit given to wrestler Narsingh Yadav by NADA in the dope scandal back home. The Indian contingent’s chef-de-mission Rakesh Gupta told PTI,
WADA has appealed against the NADA (National Anti-Doping Agency) clearance in Court of Arbitration (CAS). Now the hearing is on and the IOA Secretary General (Rajeev Mehta) is there with WADA officials.
If CAS upholds WADA’s appeal, Narsingh, who is scheduled to fight in the 74 kg freestyle category on August 19, will not only be unable to take part in the Games here but could also face a career-threatening four-year ban. Enduring a disastrous campaign thus far, the medal-less Indian contingent has been pinning its hopes mainly on shuttlers Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth, besides its wrestlers – including world championship bronze medal winner Narsingh – to end the drought before the disheartening development.
Eleven days of action have failed to bring India, which won a record six medals in London four years ago, a single podium finish and there’s growing desperation to end this poor run. India’s campaign now has been reduced to three disciplines – track and field, badminton and wrestling – after the poor showing put up by the contingent in other sports. Its woes continued on day 11 when Hardeep Singh lost 1-2 in his opening encounter against Turkey’s Ildem Cenk in the Greco-Roman 98 kg category.
And adding to the miserable run was the news that some of its contingent members were served only “peanuts” at a dinner party organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports here on Independence Day, after having skipped dinner at the Games Village.
The lanky shuttler from Hyderabad and Srikanth, who made it to the men’s singles quarters, are the only two medal contenders left in the badminton competition after the shock elimination of the London Games bronze medallist and former world no. 1 Saina Nehwal two days ago.
A visibly elated PV Sindhu rated her win over London Olympics silver medalist Yihan Wang as one of the best moments of her career, hoping that she could maintain her good form against Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in the semi-finals. Asked about her initial feelings, Sindhu said,
This is the Rio Olympics, it’s a very different feeling. It’s one of the best moments. I hope there will be many more to come. I was just thinking about the game. If you play really well, you will automatically win the game, and a medal. I’m just focused on my match and the next match, the semis (against Okuhara). I hope I can give my best.
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- Saina Nehwal
- world championship
- Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports
- rio olympics
- PV Sindhu
- Wang Yihan
- Narsingh Yadav
- National Anti-Doping Agency
- World Anti-Doping Agency