BASEL, Switzerland (IANS) — Ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu made history Aug. 25 as she became the first Indian to win the BWF World Championships, crushing Japan's Nozomi Okuhara 21-7, 21-7 in just 36 minutes in a one-sided final.
Sindhu's gold is the second medal that India won at the Worlds this year with Sai Praneeth winning a bronze in men's singles category.
The last time Sindhu and Okuhara met in a World Championships final was in 2017. In a pulsating encounter that lasted nearly two hours and involved a 73-shot rally, Okuhara emerged victorious in the end. Sindhu again reached the final in 2018, only to go down to Carolina Marín of Spain. However, she finally broke the jinx this time, brushing aside her opponent with a dominant show from start to finish.
In stark contrast to world No. Sindhu, the Japanese world No. 4 looked completely at sea against the Indian star's relentless attacks.
Although Okuhara won the first point of the first game, Sindhu won eight straight points after that to race to an 8-1 lead. Okuhara managed just one more point before the interval with Sindhu leading 11-2.
The mauling continued for much of the second period of the opener, which ended in just 16 minutes. Okuhara got a few consecutive points towards the end to extend her score to 7 but Sindhu sealed the issue on her first game point.
In the second game, Okuhara briefly kept pace until the score was 3-2 in Sindhu's favor after which the Indian took six consecutive points to race to a 9-2 lead.
Okuhara won two more points but Sindhu kept her foot on the pedal and went into the interval with a 11-4 lead.
Okuhara went on to take just three more points in the second period as Sindhu continued to storm her way to the title. Once again, she managed to get over the line on her first match point.
This was the 16th match between Sindhu and Okuhara. Sindhu now leads 9-7 head-to-head, including three victories in the last five meetings before Sunday's clash.
Both players had not won a title this year. While Okuhara reached the final after a hard fought 17-21, 21-18, 21-15 win against Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon, Sindhu swatted aside China's Chen Yu Fei 21-7, 21-14 in her semifinal clash.
This is Sindhu's fifth medal at the World Championships, which is the joint highest in women's singles in the history of the tournament along with Xhang Ning of China, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Apart from the two silvers Sindhu won in the last two editions, she had also won the bronze in 2013 and 2014.
India’s leaders congratulated Sindhu on her historic win. "The stupendously talented @Pvsindhu1 makes India proud again! Congratulations to her for winning the Gold at the BWF World Championships. The passion and dedication with which she's pursued badminton is inspiring. PV Sindhu's success will inspire generations of players," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"PV Sindhu creates history by becoming the first-ever Indian to claim gold in BWF World Badminton Championships! India is proud of @Pvsindhu1 My hearty congratulations! Govt will continue to provide best support & facilities to produce champions. #BWFWorldChampionships2019," Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted moments after Sindhu created history.
Hailing Sindhu's historic feat, superstar Shah Rukh Khan tweeted: "Congratulations P.V. Sindhu for winning the Gold at the BWF World Championships... Making us proud as a nation with your exceptional talent. Keep creating history!"
Actress Taapsee Pannu, who also owns a team in the Premier Badminton League, wrote: Finally!!!!! Ladies and gentlemen, let's welcome the new world champion P.V. Sindhu. It's the GOLD finally."
Veteran actor Anupam Kher described Sindhu's journey as "inspirational."
"Congratulations dearest P.V. Sindhu for becoming the world champion. Your victory makes Indians all over the world so so proud. Thank you for giving us reasons to rejoice. Your journey is greatly inspirational. Jai Ho and Jai Hind," he said.
Filmmaker Karan Johar wrote: "What a proud moment for India. Congratulations P.V. Sindhu on this amazing achievement of becoming the first Indian ever to win a gold at the BWF World Championship."
Actor Suniel Shetty wrote: "Bravo Champion. Proud Indian."
Singer Sonu Nigam described it as a proud moment for Indians. "What a proud moment for India.. P.V. Sindhu First Ever Indian Badminton Champion of the World. God bless India. Kudos," he tweeted.