After Telangana, it was the turn of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday to roll out the red carpet for Rio Olympics silver medalist P V Sindhu and her coach Pullela Gopichand. Five Andhra ministers flew the duo in a special jet from Begumpet airport to Vijayawada on Tuesday morning. At Vijayawada, Sindhu and Gopichand were accorded a rousing welcome by the Andhra Pradesh government which arranged a double decker open top bus to ferry them from airport to the Indira Gandhi stadium.
Huge crowds lined up the streets of Vijayawada to greet Sindhu as she along with her coach Pullela Gopichand embarked on another open-top-motorcade from Gannavaram Airport to Indira Gandhi Stadium. Thousands of school children and people showered flower petals on the champion shuttler as she passed by in a motorcade.
Hundreds of folk artists beat drums and danced to welcome the duo. Sindhu’s father accompanied her on the bus ride.
Later, Sindhu and Gopichand was felicitated at the stadium, where she and Gopichand were presented with cheques of Rs 3 crore and Rs one crore respectively. Sindhu also played badminton with Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
“Sindhu has inspired many women in the country. Gopichand played a crucial role in shaping the champion. There is a need to produce champions. Badminton is no less to cricket and other games. Awards and felicitations will help in gaining confidence to achieve more medals in international events,” Chandrababu Naidu said while speaking at the felicitation.
“Am happy to be here in Vijayawada. I come here to spend vacations as this is my grandfather’s hometown. Am overwhelmed at the love and affection showered on me by people,” Sindhu said.
The Andhra University would confer honorary doctorate on Gopichand, chief minister Naidu announced on the occasion. Naidu also announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh to shuttler Kidambi Srikanth of Guntur, who made an early exit from the Rio Olympics. Srikanth has also been offered a Group-2 job in the state government.