Home BADMINTON The historic clash between PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin- Rio Olympics Final,...

The historic clash between PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin- Rio Olympics Final, 2016 : A throwback

Carolina Marin and PV Sindhu
Image credits: Twitter

It was the 19th of August, 2016. The crowd at Rio were roaring. Two young ladies, PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin walked into Riocentro Convention & Event Center. One came to Rio with a strong resolve to clinch the gold. The other, was an unexpected finalist.  From India, the more experienced Saina Nehwal was considered to be a formidable contender. She is a bronze medalist from the 2012 London Olympic Games and has many achievements at the international stage to her credit.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu’s silver at Rio 2016 is etched in Indian sporting history. It was India’s first ever silver in badminton, the highest achievement in Olympics.

The journey to the Final

Stats heading into the finals

PV Sindhu   Carolina Marin
21 Age 23
9 Seeding 1
2 Head to Head 4
5’10” Height 5’8”


In the main draw, Marin beat 7th Seed Sung Ji Hyun in straight sets without breaking much sweat, 21-12 and 21-16. The semi final was a supposed to be a close encounter against the defending champion and third seed Li Xuerui who is a consistent performer. However she suffered a major knee injury during the match, thereby losing 21-14 and 21-16.
PV Sindhu had a longer journey in the main draw. She beat the 8th seed Tai Tzu Ying from Taiwan in straight sets in the round of 16. The very tall and lanky second seeded Chinese; Wang Yihan gave Sindhu a strong fight. However the Indian prevailed over the Chinese in a 55 minute gruelling encounter ending 22-20 and 21-19.

The semi final had Sindhu up against a rival form her junior years, Nozomi Okuhara. The rivalry between the two opposites is a delightful one. A tall Sindhu with attacking game, played against a short Okuhara, with rather a defensive game. Unlike most of their matches earlier which were three setters, the semi-final was a straight game win for Sindhu. The first game was closely fought closing at 21-19. However the Japanese barely had answer to the Indian as she vanquished her opponent 21-10 making her way to the historic Final. The match however lasted 51 minutes despite being a straight game win.

PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin in a rally
Image Credits: Twitter | PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin in a rally

As it happened: The historic clash between PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin

Carolina Marin from Spain walked in like a lioness with brimming confidence.
Sindhu came on court, now carrying hopes of billions of Indians who hoped for an Olympic gold. The cricket crazy country was glued to their television to witness this historic match and to cheer for Sindhu.
Chants of “Jeetega Bhai Jeetega, India Jeetega” were reverberating across Riocentro.

Game 1 between PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin

Game one started off with great pace from both the players. Both players started off well with aggression in their game. Marin took the lead 11-6 in the mid game interval. In the second half, the shuttle went to every corner of the court. An out of the world 52-shot rally with attack and being played to long corners ended with Marin making an error pushing the shuttle out. Sindhu was trailing 16-19 when she was awarded a point with a shuttle going long. Coach Gopichand could be seen to anxious at this critical stage of the match.

Marin gifted away points with unforced errors and the score came level at 19-19. The crowd erupted into roars, cheers and whistles in support of the Indian carrying their hopes of a historic gold. PV took the lead at game point opportunity when a visible rattled Marin made yet another error in return. Coach Gopichand who is usually inanimate was visibly pumped up with adrenaline at the turn of events in the first game. Sindhu took away the first game under The Spaniard’s nose with a brilliant kill at the net. Marin, disappointed and flustered, shrugged her shoulders and walked out of the court.

PV Sindhu after she won the first Game, Rio Olympic 2016
Image Credits: Twitter | PV Sindhu celebrating after she won the first Game

Game 2 between PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin

This was the 7th meeting between the two players and the first one in a final.

Marin is one of the most mentally strong and determined players in the circuit and is known to make comebacks. She stormed her way to a 4-0 lead in the second game. The pace of the rally was ruthless. In no time the score was 9-2 with the red jersey clad Spaniard in the lead. She was extremely quick at the net, pouncing for kills. Also resorting to tactics of frequent change of shuttle and going all out on attack, Marin led 11-2 at the mid game interval, leaving Sindhu unnerved. The reigning world champion was in complete control of the second game. She chased the shuttle wherever it went, took it early and played precise strokes with thoughtful placement. In a one sided game with Marin won 21-12, leaving Sindhu astonished.

Carolina Marin returning a shuttle
Image Credits: Twitter | Carolina Marin returning a shuttle

A closely fought first half of the decider

The third game began with a confident Carolina taking a 2-0 lead against a nervous Sindhu. With progression of the game the Indian in a yellow jersey closed the gap of score to 9-8, trailing by just one point. She used effective body smashes to pick up points against the left-hander. The score was back level at 10-10 with Sindhu wining a tiring long rally of 49 shots. It was evident how much Sindhu had worked on her defence and stamina given how effectively she sustained and won long rallies.

The second half of the decider where Marin edged ahead Sindhu

The crowd was the loudest in the second half. High on adrenaline and excitement,the players and coaches were animated. For every point she won, the Spaniard let out her typical scream, with fist pumps. With every passing minute, the Spaniard seemed to be growing more energetic rather than tired. She showed absolutely no signs of fatigue. Such was her physical and mental strength one could say, and wonder the kind of training she underwent to put up such a performance and strong demeanour.

The final moments of the thrilling game

“Vamos”, she kept muttering to herself. She dictated the rallies and Sindhu kept playing along with all she had. An anxious Gopichand was shifting in his chair, watching his ward trailing, and making unforced errors, unable to match the world champion’s pace and tactics. Many unforced errors came from Sindhu. She barely picked up 5 points in the second half. Marin raced to the match point opportunity at 20-14 having 6 match points. As the left-hander pushed a shuttle out, Sindhu was gifted a point, making the score 20-15. Carolina Marin sealed the match after the Indian failed to return a half smash at the backhand side.

The glorious moment of victory for the Spaniard

PV Sindhu and Carolina Marin
Image Credits: Twitter | Post match greetings. Marin could not contain her tears of joy

The girl from Huelva, Spain, leaped in joy, collapsed onto the floor and cried as the enormity of what she had just achieved sunk in. The mastermind behind creating the Champion called Carolina Marin; her coach Fernando Rivas Jumped out of his chair in joy. Marin’s typical intimidating, loud screams are as famous as her achievements. In contrast, her coach has one of the calmest demeanour. PV Sindhu walked across to the other side of the net to congratulate her opponent. Displaying true sportsmanship, integrity and respect, she picked up the left-hander’s racquet and placed in her kit.

Marin with Coach Fernando Rivas
Image Credits: Twitter | Marin with Coach Fernando Rivas

Carolina Marin scripted history by being the first European to win an Olympic gold in the women’s singles category. Although badminton originated in Europe and has been played for centuries, Spain was never a country that played much badminton as a competitive sport. This girl with her coach has changed the way Spain sees Badminton and garnered much respect for themselves and their country in the badminton fraternity. Their journey is a story for another day!


PV Sindhu’s Historic medal

PV Sindhu made India proud with the silver medal at Rio
Image Credits: Twitter | PV Sindhu made India proud with the silver medal at Rio

The whole world witnessed how a 21-year old Sindhu evolved to be an all-round player with much more mental stability during a match. She did seem nervous in the finals as she had great amount of pressure on her shoulders. Her appearance at the final itself was a major achievement by itself. It all happened because of her sheer hard work despite not having been very confident, or expecting to make it until the finals. She settled for a silver medal having lost the finals. But she surely won the hearts of millions of people in India and across the world with her courage and fighting spirit.

Marin proved her supremacy yet again. Sindhu made a loud statement that she was there to stay and compete to win in international badminton. The Rio Olympic final of women’s singles of an hour and 23 minutes of delightful badminton is match to cherish for eternity. It is also an example of what the Olympic creed says, “The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

Image Credits: Twitter | The medalists in Women’s Singles at Rio Olympics 2016. PV Sindhu (S), Carolina Marin(G), Nozomi Okuhara (B)

Watch the whole match HERE.

Also Read: Badminton | 2020, the year so far in review

Also Read: 5 Best Moments of Kidambi Srikanth’s glittering career


Previous articleMS Dhoni and Suresh Raina – Some numbers to look back on from their glittering careers
Next articleF1: Lewis Hamilton breaks yet another Schumacher record as Mercedes sweep Spanish GP front row
Reader | Badminton Fanatic and former player

Leave a Reply