After numerous setbacks in which she had to play the bridesmaid, badminton star P.V. Sindhu achieved a significant breakthrough in the 2018 World Tour Championship, unbeaten and winning the gold medal. No one doubted her qualities as a world-class shuttler, but since capturing the hearts of the nation with her 2016 Olympic final appearance, she’s had a problem in finishing off stirring campaigns with victory. The shibboleth about Indian sportspeople lacking the killer instinct was being applied to the lanky athlete as well. Now that she’s broken the 2016-17 jinx with an emphatic straight-sets win over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, after having conquered World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of China, she has put behind a string of silver medals in world championships and the All-England.
Sindhu is an iconic sportswoman in the mould of the new millennium’s early champions like boxer Mary Kom and fellow shuttler Saina Nehwal. They were exemplary athletes on and off the court, revelling in the new atmosphere of considerable state incentives and dedicated training programmes. They had long shed the image of strugglers at the international level due to lack of travel experience and fixations on Indian food, etc. The modern version of the Indian athlete is one of competence in all settings.