P V Sindhu’s gallant effort to become India’s first ever World Champion ended in a heart-wrenching defeat against Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in an epic final, here on Sunday.
In the longest match of the tournament, which tested the physical and mental strength of both the players, Sindhu lost 19-21 22-20 20-22 after battling hard for one hour and 49 minutes. Their bodies were falling apart as the match progressed but both Sindhu and Okuhara used every ounce of energy left in them to make it an epic contest.
After closing the second game by winning an incredible 73-shot rally, Sindhu saved one championship point in the decider but it was the Rio Olympic bronze medallist who had the last laugh.
For India, it still is a historic edition since for the first time country’s shuttlers are returning with two medals. Saina Nehwal won a bronze on Saturday after losing her semifinal. Sindhu, who had won bronze twice in the 2013 and 2014 editions, thus became only the second Indian to win a silver medal after Saina Nehwal had achieved the feat in the last edition at Jakarta in 2015.
India had one silver and four bronze in the World Championships before this edition.