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Tokyo 2020: Great day for Sindhu and Indian hockey

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PV Sindhu cemented her name as one of India’s greatest ever Olympians with a commanding performance today.

In a battle to decide the bronze medal-playoff, Sindhu defeated China’s He Bing Jiao at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 1.

In the process, she became the first Indian woman to win two Olympic medals.

Sindhu beat Bing Jiao 21-13, 21-15 in a match that lasted 52 minutes.

Sindhu had earlier returned with a silver medal at the Rio Olympics 2016.

Interestingly, Bing Jiao had beaten Sindhu nine times in their last 15 matches but had no answer to Sindhu’s relentless aggression.

With this win, Sindhu has scooped India’s third medal at Tokyo.

Weight-lifter Mirabai Chanu has already returned to India after collecting a silver, while boxer Lovlina Borgohain is assured of at least a bronze so far.

Till now, wrestler Sushil Kumar is the only other Indian to win two Olympic medals – a bronze at 2008 in Beijing and a silver at the 2012 London edition.

How Sindhu’s match progressed

Sindhu raced to a 4-0 lead early on but Bing Jiao started engaging her in rallies in order to tire her down and force errors.

Bing Jiao started using her angled returns and flat pushes to claw back to 5-5.

However Sindhu didn’t let up and entered the interval with a cross court smash and down the line hit at 11-8.

The Indian stepped up the pace after the break to gather three more points and looked in total control to pocket the opening game when her opponent went wide.

After change of ends, Sindhu continued her aggressive game, egged on by coach Park Tae-Sang from the sidelines, to lead 4-1 with a cross court return.

Bing Jiao tried to change the momentum but Sindhu kept attacking with half-smashes and slices to retain a three point advantage.

Bing Jiao erased the deficit quickly before a precise smash on the line helped Sindhu wrest back control.

She soon restored the three point advantage with another cross court drop.

Sindhu went on to grab five match points with another of trademark smash and when Bing Jiao hit one wide, Sindhu celebrated with a victory cry.

Earlier, men’s singles player B Sai Praneeth and the men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy had failed to qualify for the knockout stage.

Men’s hockey team in last four

The Indian men’s hockey team secured a 3-1 win over Great Britain in the quarter-finals to inch closer to a medal.

With the win at the Oi Hockey Stadium, Manpreet Singh and team. ended Indian hockey’s 41-year-long wait for a semi-final appearance at the Olympics.

India had last made it to the semi-finals at Moscow 1980, where they won gold.

Incidentally, it was also the last of India’s hockey medals at the Summer Games.

Dilpreet Singh (7 minutes), Gurjant Singh (16) and Hardik Singh (57) scored for India.

Samuel Ward (45) netted Great Britain’s only goal of the match.

Other news

Indian boxer Satish Kumar bowed out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing against Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov in the quarter-finals of the men’s super heavyweight (+91kg) category.

Top seed Bakhodir Jalolov dominated the bout in all three rounds as he won by an anonymous 5-0 decision at the Kokugikan arena.

India discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur qualified for the finals after finishing second in the women’s discus throw qualification event at the Olympic Stadium.

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