The year 2016 hands down belongs to PV Sindhu as far as Indian badminton is concerned. An Olympic silver medal followed by her maiden Super Series win makes it a year to remember for Sindhu. Not only this, the shuttler from Hyderabad moved to the career-best world ranking of six as well.
And to cap off what has been a remarkable year for Sindhu, she won the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Most Improved Player of the Year Award. However, disappoint came her way when she was knocked out of BWF World Super Series Finals in Dubai. But by then Sindhu had already clinched the silver medal at Rio Olympics to make it a glorious year for her and Indian badminton.
With Saina Nehwal struggling with injuries Sindhu helped Indian badminton earn respect and fondness in a cricket loving country. And it was pretty much evident by broadcaster’s claim that the Rio Olympics gold medal contest between Sindhu and Spain’s Carolina Marin attracted over 17 million TV viewers. Perhaps an achievement in this part of the world. Also Read- Google announces PV Sindhu as the most searched sportsperson of the year
Sindhu, who became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal, overnight became the toast of country. Sadly, Sindhu’s silver medal was only second and last medal for India at the 2016 Olympic Games. Sakshi Malik‘s bronze in women’s wrestling was the first medal for India at the Games.
Following her success at Rio, Sindhu continued to work hard and was rewarded with China Open title, her first Super Series win. She became the second Indian woman to win the China Open title after Saina achieved the feat in 2014.
Next up for Sindhu was Hong Kong Open. The Olympic silver medalist did well to make it to the finals of the event but eventually lost to Taiwan’s Tai Tzu Ying in two straight sets. Had Sindhu won the Hong Open she would have been second Indian woman badminton player after Saina (in 2010) to win the title.
In last Super Series of the year, Saina faced dejection as she lost to Sung Ji Hyun 21-15,18-21, 21-15 in the semi-finals of the BWF World Super Series finals in Dubai, thus missing out on the finals berth.
Nevertheless, it was a year that Sindhu and India will never forget. And Sindhu’s silver medal at Rio Olympics was the highlight of Indian badminton this year, arguably of Indian sports as well.