Saina and Sindhu faced off in an all-India final Image: Twitter
Saina Nehwal's aggression and intensity quite literally wilted PV Sindhu as she picked up the women's singles Commonwealth Games gold medal with exhilarating triumph in the all-India final in Gold Coast on Sunday. Saina, who led the head-to-head count 3-1 before Sunday's match, won 21-18, 23-21 in the high-pressure match that lasted an hour.
The triumph marked a remarkable end to her CWG campaign this edition. She was the pillar of India's gold-winning campaign in the team championship earlier, playing every one of the singles matches due to Sindhu's injury. An exhausted mind, a bruised body and an unsavoury controversy — Saina Nehwal had to contend with quite a bit ahead of and during the Commonwealth Games. Little wonder then that the Indian shuttler placed her singles gold in the event right up there with the trail-blazing Olympic bronze of 2012.
"I really term it as next to my Olympic medal and my world No.1 ranking. So I would keep it somewhere there. It's a gift to my father and my mother, my country. It's a very emotional moment for me after the disappointing loss in Rio due to injury," second seed Saina said after a straight-game but draining victory over top seed and compatriot PV Sindhu in the final in Gold Coast.
Saina played all the matches in the mixed team championship before competing in the individual event.
Asked how her legs were holding up after the intense competition, Saina quipped, "They are dead."
Saina had a 3-1 head-to-head lead over Sindhu going into Sunday's match and she ensured that the gap widened with a vintage performance.
"It was a neck to neck game for me, it was even tougher because I have been playing for the last 10-12 days. She is tall, she has longer legs and covers the court better than me, I have to run here and there," Saina said of her rival and teammate.
"I lost five kgs in the last few months, that helps you move faster," she added.
(With inputs from PTI)