TOKYO: Pusarla Venkata Sindhu has delivered on the world stage stage. Yet again! The reigning world champion on Sunday scripted history as she became only the second Indian and the country’s first woman to win two Olympic medals, securing a Bronze after a straight-game win over world No. 9 He Bing Jiao of China in the badminton women’s singles third-place play-off here.
Making India proud, Sindhu also became only the fourth player in Olympic history to win two consecutive medals in women’s badminton singles, reaffirming her status as a true legend of Indian sports.
Wrestler Sushil Kumar is the first and only other Indian to win two Olympic medals, following up his Bronze at 2008 Beijing with a Silver at the 2012 London edition.
Sindhu, who has returned with medals from each of the big-ticket events such as the Commonwealth and Asian Games and the BWF World Tour Finals in the last five years, outwitted eighth seed Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 to add a Bronze to the Silver that she had secured at the 2016 Rio Games.
Up against an opponent, who had beaten her nine times so far in the last 15 meetings, Sindhu showed great determination to outplay Bing Jiao with her aggression to scoop India’s third medal at Tokyo.
Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu has already gone back after collecting an historic Silver, while boxer Lovlina Borgohain is assured of at least a Bronze so far.
Speaking after the match on her Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medal, Sindhu said: "It makes me feel really happy because I've worked hard for so many years. I had a lot of emotions going through me - should I be happy that I won Bronze or sad that I lost the opportunity to play in the final? But overall, I had to close off my emotions for this one match and give it my best, my all and think about the emotions. I'm really happy and I think I've done really well. It's a proud moment getting a medal for my country."
On celebrating: "I'm on cloud nine. I'm going to enjoy this moment. My family have worked hard for me and put in a lot of effort so I'm very thankful. And my sponsors have given me their best so I'd like to thank them and enjoy the moment."
To her fans: "A lot of Indian fans showed me their love and support and I'm very thankful to each and everyone of them. Definitely lots of love and kisses right back."
On leading in the first match:
"I was a fresh game altogether, we both had losses yesterday and came back. For us, it was very important in getting a medal for the country and at the Olympics. It's not easy. It's a big thing. There were really long rallies but I had to be patient and calm. Even though I was leading, I did not relax."
On the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: "Definitely yes, Definitely."
Congratulations poured in from all over India as the country celebrated the win.
Among the sports fraternity who celebrated the Indian shuttler’s Bronze win was India’s lone individual Olympic Gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, top wrestler and Olympic medal hopeful Bajrang Punia, former and current cricketers like Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma. The BCCI also tweeted its congratulatory message for the badminton star.
Badminton Association of India (BAI) general secretary Ajay Singhania also heaped praises on Sindhu, stating: "What a player she has been! Sindhu showed once again why she's one of the best in the world. The way she played throughout the match was amazing to see. She is a champion.
"Winning two medals and that too back-to-back is a remarkable achievement. On behalf of the Badminton Association of India, I congratulate Sindhu on yet another milestone in her career as well as Indian Badminton successfully winning third consecutive medal at the Olympics.
"A big congratulations to the coaches as well as the support staffs as well as Ministry of Sports, Government of India and SAI for all their support."