- Sindhu lost to Marin 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a pulsating final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes
- Karnam Malleshwari, MC Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Sakshi Malik are the other women players to have won a medal in the Olympics
PV Sindhu's gallant attempt to win a coveted gold medal for India ended in heartbreak when she went down fighting against Spain's Carolina Marin, winning a historic silver in the women's singles badminton competition of the Rio Olympics here today.
The 21-year-old Indian crumbled under the relentless pressure created by Marin to lose 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a pulsating final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes at the Rio centre.
Sindhu thus became the fourth Indian to win silver at the Olympics after shooters Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004, Athens) and Vijay Kumar (2012, London) and wrestler Sushil Kumar (2012, London).
The two-time World Championship bronze medallist also became the fifth woman player from India to win a medal in Olympics and the first to clinch silver.
Weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari (2000, Sydney), boxer MC Mary Kom (2012, London), shuttler Saina Nehwal (2012, London) and wrestler Sakshi Malik (Rio, 2016) are the other women players from India to have won a medal in Olympics.
Sindhu, in fact, trailed 16-19 in the opening game before reeling off five straight points to clinch it. She was then outclassed in the second to lose it tamely.
In the decider, the lanky shuttler from Hyderabad trailed 1-6 at one stage and caught up at 10-10 but could not keep the tempo after the short break as Marin simply changed gears to surge to Spain's first gold medal in badminton.
In their last five meetings in the last two years, Marin has beaten Sindhu four times with the Indian gaining an upper hand during the Denmark Super Series last year, but today she could not repeat the feat.
The hyper-aggressive Marin mixed power with precision to dominate the rallies with her acute-angled smashes interspersed with clever drops to catch the Indian often on the wrong foot.
Sindhu struggled with the length of her strokes as gave away many points by hitting long and wide, but she fought tooth and nail till the end only to come second best.
In the opening game, the Spaniard grabbed an 11-8 lead at the interval. Sindhu could not vary the pace of the rallies even as Marin came with some razor-sharp net play to extend the lead to 15-11 at one stage.
A net error and a long shot gave Sindhu two points to narrow the gap and kept breathing down the neck of the Spaniard till 15-17.
Talented Indian grappler Sandeep Tomar lost to two-time World Champion Victor Lebedev of Russia 3-7 in the 57 kg category to get ousted from the men's freestyle wrestling at the Rio Olympics today.
Tomar officially bowed when Lebedev was beaten 1-6 in his next encounter against Sabzali Hassan Rahimi of Iran.
Sandeep first conceded a penalty point for his passivity, and the Russian World Champion defended well as the Indian did not succeed in his attempt to get an ankle hold.
In the process, Lebedev got a couple of technical points, getting better of the Asian Championship gold medallist.
The first three-minute period saw the Russian leading 3-0. Tomar was more purposeful in the second period as he pushed Lebedev out to get a point and then finally got a single ankle hold right to reduce the margin to 3-5.
However, with little time left, Tomar had to go for the jugular but in the process had his defence open which enabled the Russian to clinch the bout with a two-point manoeuvre to take an unassailable 7-3 lead.
The only wrestler left in the fray in London Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:46 PM