Gopi Chand: Sindhu Worlds gold one of the defining moments of Indian badminton

"This gold could not have come at a more appropriate time for Sindhu as now she will gun for the Olympic gold in Tokyo next year," said chief national coach, P. Gopi Chand.

P.V. Sindhu beat Nozomi Okuhara to lift her maiden world title.   -  special arrangement

P.V. Sindhu, the newly-crowned World women’s singles badminton champion from India, presented the biggest birthday gift to her mother and former international volleyballer P. Vijaya could not have asked for a better one on Sunday.

“I dedicate this gold to my coach Ms Kim, Gopi Sir and to my mother. This is the birthday gift to my mother,” said a beaming Sindhu after completing what has been a truly remarkable week for her in the World championship. She outclassed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-7, 21-7 in the final in Basel (Switzerland) today.

She has already achieved what no other Indian has ever done before - two bronze, two silver and now the gold - in five appearances. A stunning record which others can only dream off.

Sindhu lifts world championship title: As it happened

“I am proud to be an Indian and I won this for my country,” Sindhu remarked after the largely one-sided final, where she unleashed an amazing mix of big smashes and delectable drops.

“Well, having lost two World championship finals, I am obviously happy to pull it off this time around,” she said.

For his part, chief national coach, P. Gopi Chand, felt it all boiled down to physical fitness levels in the final after what has been a really intense and energy-sapping run-up to the gold-medal match.

“Clearly, Sindhu was better off in terms of confidence this time around compared to the 2017 and 2018 World championship finals when she was visibly tired after gruelling matches in the previous rounds. And in this Worlds, her game was on a different plane,” Gopi explained.

MATCH REPORT| Sindhu becomes India's first world champion; thrashes Okuhara 21-7, 21-7

“We had to think about a twin-strategy - whether to engage Okuhara in long rallies or go all out for smashes depending on the fitness as she featured in long matches in the previous rounds,” he said. “But, our gamble to attack from the word go paid off,” he added.

Keeping it simple

“Well, the conditions in Glasgow Worlds and here in Basel were almost similar. But, I always felt Sindhu entered today’s final with a lot more confidence and freshness compared to the previous two editions where she failed at the last hurdle,” Gopi explained.

“My advice to her was to keep things simple, play the match on merit, give the best shot and not think too much about what happened earlier,” he said.

“Honestly, I was very relaxed and never felt the pressure of being there for a third world championship final. Yes, it would have been bigger if it were to be Olympics though Worlds medal is still one of the most decorative ones chased by many top players,” he said.

“And, this gold could not have come at a more appropriate time for Sindhu as now she will gun for the Olympic gold in Tokyo next year,” Gopi felt.

“Definitely, with this memorable gold by Sindhu, I can tick off another box in my coaching career as it is clearly one of the defining moments of Indian badminton,” he concluded.