Former world champion P. V. Sindhu fought through injury to valiantly take down Canada’s Michelle Li 21-15, 21-13 in the women’s singles gold medal match of the Commonwealth Games at the National Exhibition Centre.
Buoyed by Sindhu’s success, Lakshya Sen came from a game down to end the giant-killing run of Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong and win the men’s singles gold with a 19-21, 21-9, 21-16 scoreline.
Sindhu’s powerful backhand drops proved to be a bit too much for Li, who had last beaten the World No. 7 in the 2014 CWG semifinals in Glasgow before losing six on the spin.
“Even though I beat Michelle several times, it was very important for me to be prepared from the first point. You never know how it is on the day. It feels nice because it was a much-awaited win. Coming into the final, you can’t just settle for any medal. You would always want to go back with the gold,” Sindhu said after winning her first-ever CWG gold medal in women’s singles. She won silver in 2018 and bronze in 2014.
Li did look to take advantage of Sindhu’s heavily taped Achilles tendon as she sent the shuttle to all corners of the court. However, Sindhu’s 5-foot-11-inch-tall frame ensured she faced little trouble in dealing with them.
Sindhu may have been a tad slower than her normal self since the semifinal, but that didn’t stop her from sending in a thundering smash through the line to take a 7-6 lead in the first game.
Although Li gradually crept her way to make the scores level on several occasions, Sindhu kept outwitting her. She took the first game comfortably at 21-15.
In the second game, Sindhu pipped Li to take a 3-2 lead with a stunning smash from the backline. Li tactfully tried to take advantage of Sindhu’s restricted movement by using a body smash, but the two-time Olympic medal winner sharply moved away to angle the shuttle into the corner.
Leading 11-6 at the one-minute mid-game interval, Sindhu had to concede a lung-bursting 57-shot rally, which woke the Canadian fans from their slumber.
“There were long rallies, but I did not leave it. She was coming closer, but I fought,” Sindhu said.
With seven championship points, Sindhu closed the game at 21-13.
As Sindhu heads back home with yet another international medal, she said: “Definitely it’s going to go in my room with all the other medals. Each medal is associated with a different memory. It’s time to go back, relax a bit, and prepare for the Worlds.”
Later, India’s star doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy won the men’s doubles gold with a 21-15, 21-13 win over England’s Ben Lane and Sean Vendy to add further sheen to the country’s badminton campaign in Birmingham. A fantastic run saw the Indian shuttlers win three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.