The Tokyo Olympics, after many delays and criticism, is all set to begin from July 24 at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza in Japan’s capital. The Indian athletes and players who qualified for the game had already arrived in Tokyo, and soon their campaign will start. The hopes from the Indian badminton team, which is going to be led by PV Sindhu, are pretty high, primarily from the 2016 Olympics Silver medalist PV Sindhu. The Indian star shuttler PV Sindhu leads a quartet of badminton players to the 2020 Olympics, including Sai Praneeth and the dynamic duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty. It will be the second time she will represent India at the Olympics, and the World no.7 badminton player is a leading contender.
A LOOK AT LAST 2016 RIO OLYMPICS
PV Sindhu last time was just a step farther away from bagging gold at the Rio Olympics. The nail-biting final match between her and Carolina Marin, the former no.1 in BWF’s ranking, was full of ups and downs. Sindhu had a very great start and was able to bag the first half. It looked like the match will go in Sindhu’s favour, but Carolina making a comeback and changed the course of the game. Sindhu lost the chance of winning the gold medal by 21-25 and claimed the silver medal. Still, she became the only Indian player to win silver at the Olympics, taking one step ahead of her senior and India’s pride Saina Nehwal who won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. The silver medalist now has a chance to avenge herself.
RECENT FEATS OF THE OLYMPIC MEDALIST
After the 2016 win at the Olympics, Sindhu had significant titles added to her name. Thereby entering into the finals of three successive vital events, she made the history of becoming the only layer to do so. In 2017, Sindhu played the second-longest match of 110 mins in the women’s singles category against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara at BWF World Championship. She ended up being the runner up. Once again entering the World Championship, Sindhu played against the Olympic Champion, Carolina, and won the silver medal. She also became the first Indian to win the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals tournament in China in 2018 after defeating the las time champion Nozomi.
The road became full of hurdles for Sindhu since 2019 where she was handed second consecutive defeat a BWF Finals at the hands of Yufei. In March 2021, she quickly lost the finals of the Swiss Open to Carolina and went down without a fight in the All England semifinals in March against Thailand’s Chochuwong. While interviewing for PTI, her foreign coach Park-Tae-Sang said that Sindhu is working on her defence and endurance, which could help her win a medal for India at the Olympics.
ROAD TO 2020 TOKYO OLYMPICS
Sindhu has been placed in Group J, where she will be going against Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi(34th rank) and Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova (58th rank). She will not face any problem here as she has a win only lead over both. In the pre-quarters round, she will be drawing her swords against Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, who defeated Sindhu this season at Thailand Open. But going with the record, Sindhu has four wins against her, which could pave the way for the power player into quarters.
Though Sindhu enjoys an 18-11 record against Akane, the path will not be easy as it seems. In the quarters, she will have to face World No.5 Japan’s, Akane Yamaguchi. If she can win through the knockout rounds, she might end up playing her fiercest rival, World no.1 Taiwan’s Tai-Tzu-Ying to claim the gold medal, whom she was able to defeat in the 2016 Olympics pre-quarters clash.”I have agood draw but it is not going to be easy”, said PV Sindhu.
The road seems easy, but one mistake from the five-time World Championship medalist could leave her nowhere. Chief National Badminton Coach Pullela Gopichand is very hopeful of getting double digits at this Olympics and said in a statement, “I am hoping that Sindhu can pull off, she is definitely going to be one of the favourites in the Olympics.” If Sindhu pulls this off, she will become the first Indian shuttler with Olympic gold medal and the only Indian to win two Olympic gold medals.