Mahindra Scorpio TOISA: Indian sports’ shining stars

TOISA aims to honour the past, celebrate the present and nurture the future in Indian sports. True to its mission statement, badminton ace PV Sindhu, received the jury’s Sportsperson of the Year Award, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and young cricketer, Rishabh Pant walked away with the Inspiration of the Year and Emerging Player awards respectively on a glitzy awards night. Ajit Pal Singh, the doyen of Indian hockey, was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award
PV Sindhu, rises like a phoenix
Following the surprise exit of former World No. 1 Saina Nehwal after her defeat to 61st ranked Maria Ulitina in her second match at the Rio Olympics, it was left to PV Sindhu to carry the hopes of Indian badminton. In her maiden Olympics, the 21-yearold entered the pre-quarters with a gruelling 72-minute win over Canada’s Michelle Li 21-19, 21-15, setting up a very tough match against the London Olympics silver-medallist Wang Yihan of China. In the end, she beat Yihan – seven years older than her – 22-20, 21-19 to become the second Indian after Saina to reach the last four at the Olympics. Sindhu then beat Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in straight sets 21-19, 21-10 to become the first Indian to reach an Olympics badminton final. On the biggest day of her career, Sindhu faced the World No. 2 Carolina Marin and never stopped fighting until the Spaniard won gold. And, yet it did not feel like Sindhu had lost, for in her hands was the biggest prize in the history of Indian badminton – an Olympic silver, to go past Saina’s bronze four years ago in London. Later in the year, Sindhu won her first China Open Super Series, then finished second at the Hong Kong Super Series.