Rio de Janeiro: Ecstatic but unruffled by burden of expectations after storming into the Olympic finals, Indian shuttler PV Sindhu today said she is in fact looking forward to end ace shooter Abhinav Bindra’s reign as the country’s sole individual Olympic gold-medallist.
The two-time World Championship bronze-medallist notched up a sensational 21-19, 21-10 victory over the All England Champion Nozomi Okuhara in a pulsating semi-final that lasted 49 minutes.
The World No. 10 from Hyderabad will next take on two-time World Champion and top seed Carolina Marin of Spain in the summit clash on Friday.
“My target will be to win the gold and I will give my heart out. I feel I really worked hard each and every time. Everybody’s aim is to get a medal at the Olympics, one more match to go. Definitely I feel that I’ve a chance,” Sindhu said.
“It’s nothing like pressure. It’s just that I have to give my 100 per cent. There’s one more match to go, I’m really prepared for tomorrow’s match. It’s not going to be easy. She is a really tough opponent. It’s the Olympic final, and she’s playing really well. It depends who gives her best and does well will win the final tomorrow.
Moments after her win that has assured India a silver, Bindra tweeted:
What a player !! @Pvsindhu1 I'm waiting for you to join me in the club. You have no idea how lonely it's been !!!
— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) August 18, 2016
Responding to the tweet, Sindhu said: “I would make that wish come true. I would give my heart out for that and play my best.”
Excited to make the final in her maiden Olympics, the lanky girl said: “I hope I would give my best tomorrow as well. First time in Olympics and also playing the final tomorrow, is a very great feeling. Just one more match to go. I’m really very focused. Let’s hope for the best.”
The secret of her success is sheer hard work and determination and Sindhu said she just took one match at a time, like any other champion does.
“I did not think so far. I just kept on going every single match. The immediate target was to win the next match. If you keep on winning you are going to get a medal.”
Her assured medal comes less than 12 hours after another woman Sakshi Malik ended the anxious wait by clinching the 58kg freestyle bronze through repechage in wrestling.
Congratulating Sakshi, Sindhu said: “I did not meet her. I saw her on TV and I will definitely congratulate her for her bronze. She played really well. It’s a great thing for India.”
On her strategy in the final against the left-handed Marin, a two time World Championship winner, Sindhu said she would just have to go by her coach Pullela Gopichand.
“She’s playing really well. It’s going to be good match. I will be really prepared for everything. It wont’ be easy. Each one has a different style of play and strategy. It just depends on that day. She’s left-handed. I have my coach he will tell me the strategies. It will be a different condition. it will be very different.”
In her moment of glory, Sindhu did not forget top laud her rival.
“It was anybody’s game in the first even as I was leading 18-17. She did not give up also. When It was 19-18, those two points were really very important. In the second game, it was equal till 10 points. I took a break. I took a huge a lead from there on. I never took it easy, as you never know what would happen after that,” she said.
“Each and every point was very important and I was really focused. I’m very happy. there were long rallies, she played really well and there were so many unforced errors. My coach kept me going. I was really alert for every point,” she added.
Asked if she was prepared for the hard yards she had to put in the semifinal, Sindhu said she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“I never thought it would be an easy match. You just don’t look at the scores, there were a lot of rallies long, and she was not leaving anything. Each and every point was very important for me,” he said.
“Even though I had a few unforced errors with my tap into the net, coach said ‘never mind and just keep going and I became alert for every point’,” she elaborated.
National coach Pullela Gopichand said they will give their best in the gold medal match on Friday.
“She has played fantastic. She has played each match from the beginning – against Michelle, Wendy… She has really played well and she has fought hard. Today’s win was great. She is up against a tough player in Carolina Marin tomorrow. We will give our best shot and let’s see how it goes,” Gopichand said after Sindhu’s victory in the semifinal.