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Saina becomes first Indian to win two singles golds in badminton

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Saina Nehwal

Lee, now ranked seventh in the world, stormed back in the second to take it 21-14, then stepped up another gear to clinch the decider by the same emphatic score.

However, Saina then seized control again and the turning point came when she won a really long rally while trailing 17-19 where Sindhu showed sublime defence but eventually had no answers to Saina's sustained attack. Hailing them for "making India proud", President Kovind tweeted, "Congratulations to Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu for winning GOLD and SILVER respectively in Women's Singles Badminton at #Gc2018 Daughters of India continue to make us all proud#PresidentKovind".

Gold for Saina and silver for Sindhu gave India its fourth and fifth badminton medals and took to 62 the overall tally at the Gold Coast Games.

Having not lost a single game in her run to the final, Sindhu failed to win a single game in the final and made more errors than usual as Saina's improved movement exhausted her.

Earlier, Manika Batra created history on Saturday and became the first Indian paddler to win a women singles gold at the Commonwealth Games. This time, it was Saina who got the championship point when Sindhu struck a return out.

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"It was a very pressurised tournament, a lot of top competition from the Malaysians, it was a very challenging tournament", said Nehwal, who had heavy strapping on her right shin and revealed afterwards she had been playing through pain throughout the competition.

But Saina was back in lead with a cross-court smash that Sindhu just could not reach.

On Sunday, she began with a flourish, went for the big smashes each time the opportunity presented itself and raced to a 11-6 lead. While Srikanth registered an easy 21-10, 21-17 victory over England's Rajiv Ouseph, Chong Wei overcame World No.11 Prannoy 21-16, 9-21, 21-14.

But Lee was surprisingly off when it came to retrieving the shuttle and his usual agility on the court was only there in flashes. She stayed on. It was a close match and it could have gone either way. The smashes that were landing outside in the opening game became just the bit accurate and hard for the Indian to retrieve.

But even at his erratic worst, the Malaysian, who has multiple Olympic silver medals to his credit, was simply unstoppable for the Indian and claimed the match pretty comfortably.

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