International SportsSports

Sindhu only bright spot

Star shuttler P V  Sindhu stunned World no.2 Wang Yihan of China to provide the bright spot in another dismal day for India at the Rio Olympics even as the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the clean chit to wrestler Narsingh Yadav dampened the country’s medal chances further.

Sindhu caused a huge upset, stunning World No.2 Wang Yihan of China in straight games to enter the semi-finals of the women’s singles category at the Riocentro Pavilion 4 here on Tuesday.

Faced with a much higher rated opponent, the 21-year-old from Hyderabad scripted a 22-20, 21-19 victory in 54 minutes over the former World No.1.

Sindhu will face World no.6 Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the last-four stage. Okuhara defeated compatriot Akane Yamaguchi 11-21, 21-17, 21-10 in a hard-fought all-Japan quarter-final clash which dragged on for one hour and eight minutes.

Wang, who had taken silver at the 2012 London Olympics, was expected to be the stronger of the two in Tuesday’s encounter, but it was Sindhu who dominated most of the exchanges.

The World no.10 Indian won the majority of the long rallies and used her power-packed smashes and cross-court shots to good effect.

Wang, whose weak back-hand caught her off-guard several times, came up with a tough fight, but could not do enough to stop Sindhu.

But away from the badminton court, the by now familiar sense of gloom continued to haunt the Indian camp. If the failure to open their account in the Olympics medals tally wasn’t enough, WADA piled on the misery for Indian fans by appealing to the CAS against the clean chit to Narsingh.

But WADA’s appeal just two days before the bout may seriously affect his chances, considering the whole drama that unfolded starting with the legal tussle with two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar over representing the country in the 74kg freestyle category followed by the doping saga.

The Mumbai grappler was preferred over Sushil by the WFI to take part in the Games, that fuelled a major legal battle between the two wrestlers.

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