Rio de Janeiro: Carolina Marin of Spain has beaten P.V. Sindhu of India to take gold in women’s singles badminton.
Her victory Friday signals a clear end to China’s previous lock on Olympic badminton power. Marin fell face first on the court, then kneeled and wept after her 2-1 victory.
Marin, the world No. 1 and the favorite ahead of Rio, beat Li Xuerui, the defending Olympic champion from China, to get to the gold medal match.
In men’s singles Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia earlier overcame two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China to advance to the finals against a younger Chinese star, Chen Long.
Sindhu, ranked world No. 10, made a strong run through the tournament, overpowering higher-ranked Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the semifinals. Her silver medal makes up somewhat for the disappointing run of fellow Indian Saina Nehwal, who took bronze in London but crashed out of the Rio Games early.
Marin cruised to an early lead in the first game, displaying her superior experience by repeatedly rushing the net and slamming winners back toward an often befuddled Sindhu. But the Indian settled down, chasing down smashes and drop shots and rallying to tie the game at 19. Then, in rapid succession, she took two points to stun the Spaniard, 21-19.
The second game saw an aggressive Marin win 21-12. In the deciding game Sindhu came back from a deficit and tied the match at 10 after a long, exciting rally that saw repeated smashes and several lunging saves. But Marin opened another lead and Sindhu couldn’t come back, losing 21-15.