Badminton: Carolina Marin wins record third world title, Kento Momota claims his first

Spaniard Carolina Marin is now the reigning world and Olympic champion thanks to an imperious 21-19, 21-10 win in Nanjing.
Spaniard Carolina Marin is now the reigning world and Olympic champion thanks to an imperious 21-19, 21-10 win in Nanjing.PHOTO: AFP

NANJING, CHINA (AFP) - Carolina Marin claimed a slice of history as the Spaniard became the first woman to win three badminton world titles with an emphatic victory over P.V. Sindhu of India on Sunday (Aug 5).

The aggressive Marin is now the reigning world and Olympic champion thanks to an imperious 21-19, 21-10 win in Nanjing. The all-action 25-year-old adds the 2018 crown to her titles in 2014 and 2015, and the Olympic gold she won from the unlucky Sindhu at Rio 2016.

It was more disappointment for Sindhu, who has suffered a string of near-misses in recent times.

There was nothing between the pair coming into the final in Nanjing - in their 12 previous encounters they had won six each.

And so it was in the first game too, as the rivals went toe-to-toe, the more attacking Marin, the seventh seed, bellowing after each winning point.

Third seed Sindhu, 23, well known for her never-say-die spirit, initially edged ahead before Marin dragged her back to 16-16.

It was too close to call and the chair umpire had a job on his hands as the two foes repeatedly tried to throw one another off on Marin's serve - the Spaniard wanting to get on with the game quickly but Sindhu refusing to let her in an attempt to kill the momentum.

Sindhu hit into the net to allow Marin to capture the first game in 27 minutes and she took that momentum into the second to make history.

As well as disappointment at Rio 2016, Sindhu was beaten in last year's World Championships final by Japan's Nozomi Okuhara and had to settle for silver at this year's Commonwealth Games too.

In the men's final, Kento Momota became the first Japanese man to win the world title, putting behind him a gambling scandal that threatened to ruin his career.

The explosive 23-year-old convincingly defeated China's highly promising Shi Yuqi 21-11, 21-13.