After 110 minutes of heart-stopping, breath-taking badminton Japan’s Nozumi Okuhara emerged as the world champion by defeating India’s PV Sindhu 21-19 20-22 22-20 at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
In what will go down as one of the greatest matches of all time, Sindhu saved one match point but couldn’t stop Okuhara from converting the second, going down on her knees as he returned the shuttle into the net.
Their bodies falling apart as the match progressed but both Sindhu and Okuhara used every ounce of energy left with them to make it an epic contest.
Sindhu built healthy leads in both game one and game two, but Okuhara pulled things back every time Sindhu inched ahead. The Japanese saved three game points in the second game, with Sindhu leading 20-17 but after a 73-shot rally on her fourth game point, Sindhu took the game to a decider.
The last game saw Okuhara get an early 5-1 lead but Sindhu pulled it back this time, and towards the end of the match neither player had a lead greater than two points. With Sindhu leading 19-17, an error of judgement saw Okuhara clinch another long rally in what was perhaps the turning point of the match.
Sindhu fought like a true champion and kept her promise that she would strive to change the colour of her medal, having won two bronze from past editions. Although she would have hoped for a gold, which no Indian has even won at the World Championship.
For India, it still was a historic edition since for the first time country’s shuttler are returning with two medals. Saina Nehwal had won a bronze after losing her semifinal to the eventual champion Okuhara.
Sindhu now has three World Championships medals, a silver in Glasgow to go with two bronze medals in 2013 and 2014. This is Okuhara’s first gold medal at the World Championships.