It's silver for Sindhu

India's P. V. Sindhu fought valiantly but failed in her attempt to win the gold medal, as she lost to World No. 1 Carolina Marin in the women’s singles final on Friday.

P. V. Sindhu tried her best, but Carolina Marin proved too strong for the Indian.   -  Reuters

Carolina Marin and P. V. Sindhu embrace each other at the end of the match.   -  Reuters

P. V. Sindhu’s bold shot at the Olympic gold was competently handled by two-time World Champion, Carolina Marin, as the Spaniard prevailed 19-21, 21-12, 21-15 at the Riocentro Pavilion on Friday. Sindhu joined shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Vijay Kumar and wrestler Sushil Kumar to win the Olympic silver for India.

> A look back: Sindhu's incredible journey to silver

Even though she was intense throughout, Sindhu was unable to match Carolina, who played a solid game and was quite fluent with her strokes, particularly at the net. In fact, it was a fortuitous turn that saw Sindhu, trailing 16-19, take the lead and then clinch the first game.

READ: >Sindhu on 'cloud nine'

Carolina was unusually unsure and fumbled with her shots at that stage. A 52-shot rally helped Sindhu bridge the gap to 16-17 before an error from the 21-year-old and a smash by Carolina saw the Spaniard take the lead once again. However, that was the World No. 1's final point in the first game as Sindhu made a reflex shot to clinch the game.

Read: >Gopichand: a great mentor for Sindhu

It was too much of a dream to win five points on the trot, from such a position, against such a champion. But, it did not last long.

True to her nature, Carolina reacted to the shuttle pretty sharp most of the time, composed herself quickly and attacked with renewed vigour to take a 11-2 lead in the second game. Sindhu struggled with her judgment and strokes. The wiry Indian lass, who had won two medals in the World Championships, kept looking at coach Pullela Gopichand.

Also read: >Sindhu's parents and their sacrifice

Dronacharya awardee Gopichand kept guiding and encouraging Sindhu to play her game, but the execution did not match the knowledge, for sheer lack of experience on the big stage for the young girl.

Yet, Sindhu had done well to go one step forward, after former World No.1, Saina Nehwal, had won the bronze medal in the last Olympics in London in 2012. > Read: 'Will return Sindhu’s phone, let her enjoy an ice-cream’

Carolina was a class act as she won the second game, to be on par. The stylish left-hander came up with two gems, two cross court drops from the two corners of the court, one after the other, that saw Sindhu rooted to the ground. For sheer deception and perfection of execution, Carolina was razor sharp today.

READ: >Sindhu's parents: 'Great that India won its first silver in Rio'

In the third game also, Carolina jumped up to a 6-1 lead, and Sindhu started opening up and playing close to her attacking best to bridge the gap. At one point, Sindhu was on par at 10-10. Carolina remained cool and shot ahead winning six of the next nine points, owing to her accuracy of judgment. Even then, at 16-14, it was anybody’s game. However, it was Carolina who handled the climax like a champion, tapping quick and conjuring up drop shots at will to set up six match points at 20-14. She missed the first, but delivered on the second, sending Sindhu diving desperately for an irretrievable shot.

It was time for Carolina to celebrate as she was sprawled on the court, thanking her stars before Sindhu walked around to congratulate her, heartily, like a true sport.

Read: >Bindra, Tendulkar, Anand hail Sindhu’s brilliant effort

Interestingly, like Rajyavardhan Rathore and Vijay Kumar, Sindhu also won the Olympic silver medal on maiden appearance. When all the attention was on Saina Nehwal, the star in Indian badminton, Sindhu stayed in the shadow before serving the "bolt from the blue". She played a fantastic game, much above her stature as a top-10 player for the precious Olympic medal, beating some of the best along the way.

The Badminton Associaiton of India announced Rs. 50 lakh for Sindhu and Rs. 10 lakh for her coach Gopichand. It is time to enjoy the fruits of the entertaining labour, before Sindhu gears up for bigger achievements with all the education she has acquired from the Games.

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