Despite an unkind domestic calendar, Sayali Gokhale’s change in attitude towards her game helped tide over the tough months prior to the Senior National Badminton Tournament.
Sayali, representing Air India, may appear fragile in front of the 6-feet tall PV Sindhu (PSPB), but on Wednesday she blew away the defending champion with her attacking play. Sayali won the title 21-15, 15-21, 21-15 in a match that was interrupted by a 15-minute power cut.
The Pune shuttler, who now lives in Bangalore, said though she had been working on her game for months, there was no way of knowing the results that lay in store. The reason being that there have been no senior ranking tournaments in the country since January.
“There were no tournaments but I kept on working on my skills. I concentrated more on fitness,” said the 25-year-old Sayali, who was the 2008-09 champion.
“I also changed my game a bit and consciously attacked all the time, instead of the defensive way in which I used to play earlier. I think that worked well.”
This was the third time that she entered the championship final.
The title opens up opportunities for the Tata Padukone Badminton Academy shuttler to play in international matches, but she knows she will have to start from scratch.
“I am now headed to Sweden to play club badminton. In terms of monetary gains, it's not much, but I get to play six international tournaments, so that's a plus-point.”
The London Olympics quarterfinalist is a relieved man. Srinagar gave him the heavenly feeling of winning the men's title and “lifting a big burden off the shoulder”.
Kashyap beat Ajay Jayaram in the final 21-18, 21-17 to win the championship in his second final appearance.
“There was always this pressure of winning the nationals. Now, it won't be there,” said the PSPB shuttler.