PV Sindhu lost to old foe Carolina Marin in straight games in the World Championships final on Sunday. Here is a brief timeline of the Indian’s career so far:
Born on July 5, 1995 in Hyderabad, Sindhu began playing badminton at the age of eight, with her inspiration being Pullela Gopichand, whose academy she later joined. Sindhu showed promise and was soon winning titles in the under-10 and under-13 age categories, with the cherry being a gold in the under-14 category of the 51st national school games.
2012: A special win
After taking gold at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games, Sindhu’s only title of 2012 was gold in the 2012 Asian Junior Championships. However, the year was special for a different reason. In the China Masters Super Series that year, she beat 2012 London Olympics Gold medallist Li Xuerui of China, beating her 21-19, 9-21, 21-16.
2013: Young, but mature
PV Sindhu, still in her teens, won her first Grand Prix gold at the 2013 Malaysian Open, beating Singapore’s Juan Gu 21-17, 17-21, 21-19. She then became India’s first medallist in women’s singles at the Badminton World Championships when she beat China’s Wang Shixian 21-18, 21-17 to win bronze. She capped that with a win at the Macau Open Grand Prix in December 2013, beating Canadian Michelle Li. For her achievements, she was awarded the Arjuna Award.
2014: History at Worlds
She then became the first Indian to win back-to-back medals at the World Badminton Championships, when she won bronze. In addition to that, she won bronze at the Uber Cup, the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Asia Championships.
2015: Xuerui revenge
Sindhu reached her first Super Series final, losing to Li Xuerui 19-21, 12-21 in the final. She made up for that disappointment a month later, winning her third successive Macau Open.
2016: The big one
Sindhu began the year with a bang, winning the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix, adding to her title in the same competition from 2013. However, the biggest achievement of the year came at the Rio Olympics in Brazil, when she won silver after losing in the women’s singles final to Spain’s Carolina Marin. The silver meant she became the youngest and the first woman to win a women’s singles Olympic medal from India, and it was only the second time any Indian badminton player finished in the top three at the Olympics. She won her maiden Super Series title defeating China’s Sun Yu 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 in the final of the China Open at Fuzhou.
She also finished second at the Hong Kong Superseries after losing 15-21, 17-21 to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in the final.
2017: Cracking the top five
Sindhu moved into the top five in the world rankings at the start of 2017 — and hasn’t moved out since. A great run of results catapulted her to a career-high rank of No. 2 by October, as she beat Carolina Marin in the India Open final 21-19, 21-16 and became the first Indian to win the Korea Open by defeating Nozomi Okuhara 22-20, 11-21, 21-18.
The highlight of the year, though, was her involvement in one of the great badminton matches of all time — as she and Okuhara battled away in an immense World Championships final, which she lost 19-22, 22-20, 20-22.
2018: So near yet so far
What could have been the ‘Year of Sindhu’ has become another one where she’s gotten so near, yet remained so far.
A final thrashing in the World Championships at the hands of old foe Carolina Marin (19-21, 10-21) compounded a year of misery for Sindhu where she fell just short on several occasions. The pain of losing finals earlier in the year — to Beiwen Zhang, Saina Nehwal and Nozomi Okuhara in the India Open, Commonwealth Games and Thailand Open respectively — was sharpened with the loss in Nanjing and it’s going to take all of Sindhu’s famed fighting spirit to get 2018 back on track.