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Badminton – Not as easy as it may seem

Not just India, but the world is now sitting up and taking notice of the Indian Women who dominated the World Badminton Championship last night. They seem to have put the BAD in Badminton by showing what they are made of.  Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu let their racket talk and played with their hearts. That is what brings them on top. The hard work and passion spoke volumes.
If you watched the matches, you will see that the game is not as easy as it seems.

The finals that took place between PV Sindhu and her Jap Opponent, Nozomi Okuhara was a summit clash and will be remembered for a long time. The two women have met many times before and both are brilliant at the game. At Rio 2016, Sindhu beat her. It was a fine match then and it was a fine match last night. The long long rallies tested the stamina and endurance of the women to no end. The marathon match lasted one hour and fifty minutes. Sindu even ‘won’ a yellow card that made twitter birds erupt in all directions. Some even calling the umpire a strict school teacher. It was funny. There was a mammoth seventy-three-stroke rally that Sindhu also won, leaving both players too exhausted to continue for a few moments. The stamina and endurance that was displayed on the court last night were phenomenal. It takes a real champion to play a match like that. And both players did.

It is a fact that the better player on the given day wins. Nozomi Okuhara was that player last night. We are not taking any credit away from her. She played a fabulous game and deserved the medal alright. What aches me is the headlines of some news reports that state – “ Sindhu loses gold. Settles for silver”. I mean, what is that? Why would anyone settle? She did not compromise on anything. She was at her best and she gave her best. She deserved the gold too. At no point did Sindhu seem to ‘give up’ and ‘settle’ for the second best medal of the tournament. The silver was not handed to her as a consolation ‘Good Job, Fido’. She won the freaking silver. She played the entire tournament and got where she is today after tremendous hard work.


The stress.
If you have seen any badminton match at the professional level, you will agree that it is a very fast moving match that keeps the players on their toes all the time. They need to cover the court and hit back with force. While the human body is amazing, it still needs time to recover from the game. Saina Nehwal emphasized that point last night. A player needs to take rest and be ready for the next match. The grueling schedule at the World Badminton Championship has not gone down unnoticed. Many players, including our very own Saina Nehwal, have rightly stated that a cramped schedule will not allow players to perform to their full capacity. This will cause players who are unable to recover in time to exit from the tournaments. It is one thing to have a bad day on the court. It is another to not give the player a chance to perform well.


Indian Women and Badminton
Let’s take a quick look at India’s medal haul at world level
World Championships
1983 Prakash Padukone (MS-Bronze)
2011 Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponappa (WD-Bronze)
2013 PV Sindhu (WS-Bronze)
2014 PV Sindhu (WS-Bronze)
2015 Saina Nehwal (WS-Silver)
Olympic Games
2012 Saina Nehwal (WS-Bronze)
2016 PV Sindhu (WS-Silver)


The women have done really well for themselves. They have truly dominated the world of Badminton. This fast-racket sport is slowly increasing in popularity, especially in the recent past. Many children, including my daughter, not only want to play the game but take it up as a serious sport. That is a very good sign. Lately, Kabaddi has also taken over in terms of ratings and higher viewership, second only to cricket. For a nation that was known for being cricket crazy, this is very positive. The focus is now on Badminton.

There is only one winner in every match, and that winner last night was the Japanese Player. Saina and Sindhu won our hearts long ago. They have nothing to prove. They are some of our best sports persons and we will support them no matter what. And we will be proud of them. Let’s welcome them home with all the respect and love that they need and deserve.


Serve it, smash it, love it. And that’s how it’s done.
Indu

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