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BWF World Championships final: All you need to know about P.V. Sindhu, Nozomi Okuhara

Deccan Chronicle| Soumo Ghosh

Published on: August 27, 2017 | Updated on: August 27, 2017

Neither the Indian national anthem, nor the Japanese national anthem as ever rang out in the World Championships, across any event.

Now that PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara seem to be at the peak of their respective games, it will be interesting to see how this new rivalry unfolds in the badminton world. (Photo: AP)

Now that PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara seem to be at the peak of their respective games, it will be interesting to see how this new rivalry unfolds in the badminton world. (Photo: AP)

Mumbai: The BWF World Championship is set to witness history in Glasgow, on Sunday, as Nozomi Okuhara of Japan and PV Sindhu of India go up in arms against each other in the final of the women’s singles event.

Neither the Indian national anthem, nor the Japanese national anthem has ever rung out in the World Championships, across any event.

Hiroe Yuki kicked off Japan’s story with the World Championship, clinching a bronze in the women’s singles event in 1977. India’s badminton revolution, on the other hand, was kicked off six years later by Prakash Padukone.

Since then, Japan has won nine bronze medals across all formats at the World Championships, while India has won four.

Both the countries, however, are still in search for their maiden gold medal in the tournament.

Out of India’s four bronze medals, two have been won by 2017 finalist PV Sindhu; while she has already furthered her previous best effort in the tournament, Sindhu’s eyes would be firmly set on the apex award, something that has been elusive to her compatriot shuttlers ever till now.

However, Sindhu faces a stiff challenge in the final, against world no 12 Nozomi Okuhara. Although the Hyderabad shuttler is ranked eight spots above her Japanese counterpart, the latter is unlikely to be fazed by the difference in ranking points.

Okuhara has been on scintillating form in the tournament, defeating tournament favourites like Carolina Marin of Spain in the quarterfinals and Sindhu’s compatriot Saina Nehwal in the semifinal.

In fact, Okuhara will be out for blood, come Sunday evening, as she will be seeking revenge on Sindhu, who had defeated her in the 2016 Rio Olympics women’s singles semis, on her way to a silver medal finish in the tournament; Okuhara had to settle for bronze after getting a bye in the third/fourth placed match against Li Xuerui of China.

The duo had also faced off against each other, earlier this year, in the first round of the Singapore Super Series, where Sindhu came off as the winner in three games.

The rivalry between the two 22-year-olds goes way back to the 2012 Asian Junior Badminton championship, when Sindhu again, overcame Okuhara’s challenge 18-21, 21-17, 22-20.

However, Okuhara has also had her days against he Indian counterpart,winning all the three encounters between them at the 2014 Hong Kong Open, 2015 Malaysia Masters, and the 2016 Badminton Asia Team Championship Sindhu’s hometown, equalling the head-to-head record between the two at 3-3.

Both the shuttlers, though still at the age of 22, have already come a long way since their first meet in 2012, becoming Olympic medallists in four year’s time.

While Okuhara’s achievements on the senior level are as of yet restricted to the Olympic bronze, the Asian Team Championship silver, and medals in the Uper and the Sudirman Cups, Sindhu has won a lot more accolades, clinching two World Championships bronze twice, an Asian Games bronze, a Commonwealth Games bronze, an Asian Championships bronze, and South Asian game silver.

Now that both the shuttlers seem to be at the peak of their respective games, it will be interesting to see how this new rivalry unfolds in the badminton world.

The BWF World Championship finals across various categories are set to get underway after 5pm on Sunday. The women's singles match, Sindhu vs Okuhara, is slated to start at around 6pm.

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