Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, in his bid to outdo his Telangana counterpart, played badminton with Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu Tuesday as the state government felicitated her at a formal event to mark her success in Rio.
At first, the chief minister seemed hesitant playing against an Olympic medal winner on the dais, in front of hundreds of fans. Chandrababu eventually warmed up to this friendly contest as he managed to put on a show by exchanging shots with Sindhu. His serve, however, seemed quite unorthodox as he whacked the shuttle without dropping it on his racquet. It troubled Sindhu reaching for the shuttle as there was no net in between them. For the first time Sindhu’s coach P Gopichand looked relaxed on the sidelines as Chandrababu’s backhand lifts met cleanly with the shuttle. As fans egged on for more, both players have called it a draw.
During the felicitation ceremony, Chandrababu repeatedly referred to Sindhu as “mana ammai” (our daughter), a day after she was accorded a grand reception by the Telangana government.
“Her father is from Eluru and mother from Vijayawada. Both were volleyball players and the credit goes to them for encouraging and nurturing Sindhu to become what she is today,” Chandrababu said.
The chief minister also announced a 15-acre site for Gopichand to set up a Badminton academy in the state’s capital Amaravati.
“You (Gopichand) set up a world class academy in Amaravati. We will get funds from donors, if not, the government will release necessary grants,” the Chief Minister said.