PV Sindhu’s performance at the Rio Olympics gave Indians a new star to idolise and rightfully so.
Her fight to the finals defeating three higher ranked opponents on the way to her maiden finals was something special. In the finals, she fought bravely right till the end, eventually going down to the world number one Carolina Marin 2 sets to 1. This was the first time an Indian had made it to the badminton finals in India’s rather underwhelming Olympic history.
But it was her gesture after the loss that separates the good from the great. After about an hour and a half of nail-biting action, Sindhu was beaten by Marin (19-21, 21-12, 21-15), the better player on the day. With her final match-winning smash, the Spaniard was clearly overjoyed. She threw her racquet, screaming and pumping her fist in the air with excitement before finally falling to the ground face down. A feeling only a few lucky ones get to experience in their lifetime. It definitely wasn’t an easy victory, Sindhu’s fantastic game made sure she had to earn every point.
Sindhu was understandably heartbroken. She sat down on the court, composed herself before walking over to the umpire to shake her hand and thank the crowd for cheering her on through thick and thin. She would then go on to hug Marin. It was an emotional moment for both for very different reasons.
Sindhu noticed Marin’s racquet lying on the ground. She picked it up and laid it by the side next to Marin’s bag. A mark of a sportsman who clearly loves her game and respects the opponent. Sindhu didn’t have to do it, many don’t. It was just an impulsive decision that stayed with the viewer. Sindhu might have won a silver for India but in Sindhu, India has found gold!