Dubai: They say that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things will happen to you if you really want something so badly that you never give up trying.
This is pretty much the case with P.V. Sindhu, the toast of India’s sports fraternity, who won a long-sought World Championship gold after two near misses in the last two years.
When she did secure that elusive title by defeating old foe Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday, she did it in emphatic fashion.
Sindhu stands 1.77 metres tall in her trainers while Okuhara is 22 centimetres shorter. A winner of over 312 matches, an Olympic silver medallist and Padma Shri awardee, Sindhu looked a giant on court, hardly putting a foot wrong while keeping the shuttle deep, moving it around and frequently getting into shot-making mode that prevented her rival from coming back into the match.
Okuhara, a nemesis of Sindhu for quite sometime, lost rather tamely at 21-7 21-7.
After mostly playing the bridesmaid for four years, how did Sindhu transform herself into a world-beater?
Self-belief is the biggest factor in individual sport, as is the killer instinct.
I remember Praksah Padukone, who in 1980 became the first Indian to win the All England Open Badminton Championships, telling me that he won because he had finally found the killer instinct that was missing in his game.
Was that the case with Sindhu? I believe it was. You don’t win a final the way that she did by not throwing your biggest punches or by allowing your opponent to catch her breath. You dominate from the first serve and maintain the intensity until the winning shot.
It was a joy to watch Sindhu, brimming with confidence, go about her work against a dangerous foe — someone whom she had lost to two years ago on the same stage.
Badminton today is a hugely popular sport in India. Like cricket and football, it is also played by children in any vacant plot between residential buildings, parking lots and bylanes.
I am not sure if that’s where Sindhu first held a racket, but sure as hell after what she achieved in Switzerland on Sunday, it will fuel the dreams of many youngsters in India. They may be trading their bargain-purchased bats and plastic shuttles for more a professional Yonex or Wilson racket.
And for Sindhu herself, the badminton world is now her oyster and the next goal should now be a gold at the Tokyo Olympics!