CWG 2018 | Saina Nehwal wins gold as PV Sindhu, Srikanth settle for silver in Singles

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CWG 2018 | Saina Nehwal wins gold as PV Sindhu, Srikanth settle for silver in Singles

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SportsCafe Desk

04/15/2018

Saina Nehwal stunned many with her 21-18, 23-21 win over PV Sindhu in the Women’s Singles Final event as she clinched the gold medal. In the other game, India’s prime medal contender Kidambi Srikanth went down 21-19, 14-21, 14-21 against Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei in Men’s Singles final.

India woke to two epic badminton encounters on Sunday as they saw Saina taking on Sindhu and Srikanth facing the legendary Lee Chong Wei in the Commonwealth Games’ individual Women's and Men's gold medal events. And with Sindhu and Srikanth being dubbed India's biggest medal contenders at the CWG even before it started, people got the shock of their lives.

The first match saw a 28-year-old Nehwal taking on an in-form 22-year-old Sindhu, who has been at her peak for some time now. However, it was known from the very beginning that Sindhu would have to sweat to squeeze out a win. Playing under the same coach, Pullela Gopichand, both were well acquainted with each other’s strengths and weaknesses and they kept on exploiting the small windows of opportunities.

It was a more clinical Saina who got the better of a hardworking Sindhu. Saina stuck to her strong netplay for most of the first game, not letting Sindhu smash her way in and sealed it 21-18 in 22 minutes. But, it was the second game that will be etched in India’s badminton history forever. With everything to lose, both the players put their hearts out and consequently, the game went right down to the wire. Eventually, it was Saina who prevailed 23-21, but not before giving the crowd some enthralling rallies and a show of tremendous determination.

The second match had even more promise and it lived to every bit of it. Having already lost to Srikanth in the Mixed Team event earlier in the tournament, Chong Wei had stated that he would lay his body on the line in what was possibly his last CWG event. And he did exactly that. The Malaysian started off with five straight points, letting Srikanth know that he could not be taken lightly despite his 35-year-old body.

The match, between two offensive players, saw both of them picking up the most unlikely of smashes to perfection before Srikanth went on to win the first game 21-19. A shadow of defeat from the last match was already hanging over the match when Chong stunned everyone with a comeback in the second game beating Srikanth 14-21.

The Malaysian crowd had again started chanting Chong Wei’s name as the belief of a miracle was slowly cementing. And the last game between an aging Chong Wei and the World No. 1 was definitely the best of the CWG 2018 event. Srikanth’s fierce smashes, which had been Chong’s biggest weakness till now, were now being seen returned by with unreal reflexes. And every time he did that, a chunk of Srikanth’s confidence was stolen. Eventually, grit, determination and experience defeated youth and strength as Chong won the final game 14-21 to seal the final game.

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