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Making sense of PV Sindhu’s post-World Championship downer

Badminton   |   November 8, 2019


Indian badminton ace PV Sindhu’s game has plummeted sharply following her tremendous World Championship win in August, getting eliminated in all events since.

When PV Sindhu clinched gold at the 2019 BWF World Championships in Basel, Switzerland back in August, she became the first Indian to do so. After settling for silver in her two attempts prior, in 2017 and 2018, it was a validation of the shuttler’s abilities to perform at the highest level of the world stage.

However, the 24-year-old has failed to make it to the finals in all five BWF events she’s entered since, and of those attempts, made it as far as the quarterfinal only once. No matter how one slices it, that’s highly unbecoming for someone who just conquered the best of the world.

Coaching setback

One of the reasons behind her stumble might just be internal. Not long after the high of August, September brought bad tidings, as Sindhu found herself without her coach, Korean Kim Ji Hyun. Kim was forced make the hard choice in order to take care of her ailing husband in New Zealand, who had suffered a stroke back in August, during the World Championships.

Kim and Sindhu had fostered a good relationship during their time working together, and it’s not hard to imagine that losing her played a part in Sindhu’s round-of-16 elimination at the China Open in September.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. More disappointment followed as the BWF Super 750 season rolled on, with early eliminations in Korea, Denmark, France and most recently, China, where she found herself knocked out in yet another first-round upset by Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po 21-13, 18-21, 21-19.

Big game player

The other hypothesis that we can surmise is Sindhu is getting increasingly attuned to coming alive for the mega events, when the stakes are at their highest. Just like tennis players who live for the Grand Slams, Sindhu’s record over the past few years shows more and more that she is at her absolute best in big events.

Whether it be her consistent prowess at the World Championships or bagging every colour of medal at the Commonwealth Games, Sindhu has been ensuring more and more that she delivers the shiniest baubles to her country.

Following her ousting from the China Open, Sindhu will head westward next, for the Hong Kong Open 2019 — her final stop on the BWF calendar for the season. It will be her final chance to end the year on a high. Regardless, she is still sixth on the BWF Rankings, which ensures her Tokyo 2020 eligibility and the prospects of landing yet another one of the big prizes she is so adept at bagging.

Written by: Sandeep Banerjee

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