World

Saina wins silver, no Indian reached summit stage since 1977

August 16, 2015 02:33 PM

Jakarta: Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal missed out on a World Championship gold, losing to Spain's Carolina Marin 16-21, 19-21 in the final of the World badminton Championship in Jakarta on Sunday. Leading 3-1 over her opponent in previous fixtures, Saina emerged second-best and settled for a silver medal finish.

No Indian has yet managed to reach the summit stage since the World Championships started in 1977. The legendary Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a medal (a bronze) in 1983, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged a women's doubles bronze in 2011 and PV Sindhu clinched back-to-back bronze medals in 2013 and 2014.

Both players came out to massive reception, but as the match progressed, the Spain contingent grew louder. Both Saina and Carolina begun on a strong note and the Indian was initially leading 7-5, but the Spaniard, moving at lightening speed made took advantage of her height and began looking at ease picking the Indian's drop shots. Carolina opened a four-point advantage over Saina to make it 11-7 in the first game. 

Celebrating each point with a scream of joy, Carolina moved to 16-11 courtesy a flurry of smashes angled at Saina's body. The Indian tried valiantly to erase the deficit but Carolina was in cruise mode and extended the lead to 20-13. Looking far from her best, Saina could manage just three more points before the Spaniard sealed the first game with another lightening smash. 

Once the second game got underway, Saina came into her own and was off the blocks early, opening up a 3-1 lead. Moving at a much-better speed, Saina turned the tables and took a four-point lead of her own. She looked calm, composed and reserved despite leading 11-6 in second game, and seemed to be in her elements. But she soon lost her steam, which allowed her opponent to bag the next seven points in a row. 

Carolina was further aided by the support from the Spain contingency, who cheered her on with every shot. At 13-12, Saina used yet another firmly-hit body smash to draw level. She responded well to Carolina's smashes, which caught the Spaniard off-guard. However, that didn't last long as Saina once again squandered her advantage and allowed Carolina to crawl back and make it 20-18. Saina saved one match point, but was left high and dry when her shot dropped outside the line.

No Indian has yet managed to reach the summit stage since the World Championships started in 1977. The legendary Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a medal (a bronze) in 1983, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged a women's doubles bronze in 2011 and PV Sindhu clinched back-to-back bronze medals in 2013 and 2014.

 

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