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PV with a difference!

Updated on: 26 May,2024 07:46 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shirish Nadkarni |

India’s World No.15 shuttler Sindhu shows improved form after training stint under legendary Prakash Padukone as she registers come-from-behind semis win over Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan; faces China’s Wang Zhi Yi today

PV with a difference!

PV Sindhu. Pic/Getty Images

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PV with a difference!

The Paris Olympics are just around the corner, and star shuttler Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is building up a head of steam.

The 2019 world champion, who has shown a predilection for Olympic medals by winning a silver at the 2016 Rio Games and a bronze at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, geared up for her medal bid at the forthcoming 2024 event by barging into the women’s singles final of the prestigious Malaysia Masters Super 500 badminton championships in Kuala Lumpur. 

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Prakash Padukone. Pic/Ashish RajePrakash Padukone. Pic/Ashish Raje

It was not that the two-time (2013 and 2016) former winner set the Axiata Arena alight by her gruelling, 88-minute long 13-21, 21-16, 21-12 semi-final triumph over Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan, a rival she had beaten 17 times out of the 18 previous occasions the two had met.

Sindhu’s sluggish moves 

In fact, until the half-way stage of the second game, Sindhu played such a tepid game, virtually forgetting her powerful smash and moving sluggishly in comparison with her sprightly Thai opponent, that memories of the 2019 Hong Kong Open–the only time she had lost to the diminutive Busanan–came to mind.

However, the rangy Indian came into her own after lemon-time in the second game; and from that point onwards, there was only one player in the contest. 

Sindhu rediscovered her smash, and used the one-two fast drop- flick clear combination to have the Thai girl scurrying around the court, in a desperate bid to stay in the rally.

What was most heartening for the Indian fan of the shuttle sport was the fact that, at the end of the marathon contest, Sindhu still looked capable of maintaining the pace for another half hour.

Better stamina on display

The substantially improved levels of physical fitness in the World No. 15 showed in this match, as much as they had during her 21-13, 14-21, 21-12 quarter-final triumph over the top-seed and World No. 6, Han Yue of China, the previous day.

These levels of stamina should stand her in good stead when she faces China’s redoubtable Wang Zhi Yi (World No. 7) in the final on Sunday.

Quite clearly, the 28-year-old Sindhu’s move from her lifelong sojourn in Hyderabad to the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy at Bangalore’s Padukone Dravid Centre of Excellence is paying rich dividends, both by way of improved staying power and match strategy during a close encounter. The guiding hand of the 1980 All England champion could make the vital difference to her bid for a hat-trick of Olympic medals in Paris.

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