Picture by Lintao Zhang/ Getty Images

PV Sindhu joins select group of repeat medalists with Tokyo 2020 bronze

The Indian became only fourth woman to win medals in successive Games in badminton
By Olympic Channel Writer

PV Sindhu shook off her semifinal defeat against second seed Tai Tzu-Ying and came back to the court with renewed fight on Sunday. The ace Indian shuttler defeated China’s He Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 on Sunday to win the bronze medal at Tokyo 2020.

This will be her second visit to the Olympic podium after had belied expectations to win the silver medal at Rio 2016 on her Olympic debut.

The result means Sindhu is now only the second Indian athlete in an individual sport to win medals in two Olympics editions. Sushil Kumar is the only other Olympian from the country to achieve the feat as he won bronze in the men’s 66kg freestyle category at Beijing 2008 and clinched a silver four years later at London 2012.

Sunday’s win also saw Sindhu become only the fourth female badminton player to medal in two consecutive Olympics.

Susi Susanti (gold at Barcelona 1992, bronze at Atlanta 1996), Ban Soo-hyun (silver at Barcelona 1992, gold at Atlanta 1996) and Zhang Ning (gold at Athens 2004, gold at Beijing 2008) are the players who had achieved the feat previously.

Sindhu also became the second oldest player, at 26 years and 27 days, to win a bronze medal in the women’s singles at badminton. China’s Ye Zhaoying, who grabbed the last place on the podium at Sydney 2000, remains the oldest at 26 years and 85 days.

With the bronze medal finish, Sindhu also sealed her place as one of the best big-match players in the country. For the past five years, she has rarely returned empty-handed from a major badminton tournament.

She has won five World Championship medals, two Asian Games medals and five medals at World Tour Finals. Not surprisingly, Sindhu had emerged as India’s biggest medal hope going into Tokyo 2020. The ace shuttler, though, refused to crack under pressure.

Though she couldn’t make it to the second successive Olympic final, Sindhu made sure she added to India’s medal tally. She made the weeks spent in lockdown, working with the sole aim of doing well at Tokyo 2020, count.

Sindhu sealed victory against He Bingjiao with a backhand cross-court push. She bent down at her knees at let out a cry of joy and relief on winning her second medal.