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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Pusarla Sindhu becomes World Champion 2018 ~ makes India proud

Padukone is a coastal village located approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) north of the taluk center. Part of the village is surrounded by the Souparnika River and one has to cross this river in an old wooden boat from Maraswami.  It is in Udupi district   notable for the Krishna Temple.  We grew up idolizing beyond Cricket stars – Gavaskar, Viswanath, Chandra, Venkat, Kapil Dev,  Krish Srikkanth, - hockey stars and one Badminton player - Prakash Padukone who  was ranked World No. 1 in 1980; the same year he became the first Indian to win the All England Open Badminton Championships. He was awarded the Arjuna award in 1972 and the Padma Shri in 1982 by the Government of India.

Nozomi Okuhara  is a Japanese badminton player,  a singles specialist, well known for her speed, agility and endurance. She won a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics. She became the 2017 world champion in Glasgow, Scotland  defeating India's P. V. Sindhu in the finals.   The fast-growing rivalry between two of the biggest Women’s Singles stars  added another installment  with the fierce title clash for championship at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China.

Both players advanced to the gold-medal showdown in straight games.  Okuhara having the measure of her compatriot and defending champion, Akane Yamaguchi, while Pusarla Sindhu  withstood a spirited surge from Ratchanok Intanon at the end of the second game. The Thai ace – who won the World title at the same Tianhe Gymnasium in 2013 – failed to capitalise on three game points as her big-hitting and long-reaching opponent prevailed 21-16 25-23 to reach the Finals showpiece for the second successive year.

The BWF World Tour Finals, officially HSBC BWF World Tour Finals, which succeeds BWF Super Series Finals, is an annual badminton tournament being held  at the end of the year where the players with the most points from that calendar year's 37 events of the BWF World Tour compete for total prize money of at least US$ 1,500,000.  This year it was held  from 12 to 16 December 2018 in Tianhe, Guangzhou, China. The 25 tournaments on the HSBC BWF World Tour offer substantial prize money and ranking points for the players.

Good news for India and the fans are feeling happy .. PV Sindhu is the new Champion .. ..  .. Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu made history by becoming the first Indian to win the season-ending BWF World Tour Finals. The Indian superstar beat a familiar foe in Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-19, 21-17 in the final to claim her first title of the year. Sindhu had a tough time this year, unable to win even a single tournament this year but the Indian shuttler was in top form in this tournament  and ended the tournament unbeaten. In both games, Sindhu made a fast start but Okuhara managed to stay within touching distance. Sindhu, though, had just too much in her locker and won points at crucial junctures to maintain her dominance in the match. The 23-year-old had beaten Ratchanok 21-16, 25-23in a captivating semi-final on Saturday.

Pusarla Venkata Sindhu won the  Olympic silver medal, and one of the two Indian badminton players to ever win an Olympic medal – other being Saina Nehwal. Sindhu won silver in Women's singles at Commonwealth Games 2018 . She was also a silver medalist at the 2017 BWF World Championships and 2018 BWF World Championships consecutively. She was also a silver medalist in Asian Games 2018 which were held in Indonesia. Now she has become the first Indian to have clinched the 2018 World Tour tittle defeating Japan's Nozomi Okuhara.

For those interested  - Shi Yuqi   a Chinese badminton player won the Men’s title. An up-and-coming name in badminton, Shi Yuqi won his first Super Series title at the French Open in 2016 after he beat Lee Hyun Il from Korea. Today   World No. 2 Shi Yuqi upset the top-ranked Kento Momota to win the men’s singles final 21-12, 21-11.  Shi Yuqi had never beaten Kento Momota in three previous meetings. In fact, he had been able to take only one game in those matches, so the Japanese was the overwhelming favourite coming into the BWF World Tour Finals final. The match had a surprising start with the World No. 1 being unusually quiet in the initial few stages. The intensity looked to be missing as Shi Yuqi looked to be the thorough aggressor.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Dec 2018.

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