Having created history by becoming the first Indian shuttler to win an Olympic silver medal, PV Sindhu feels the limelight would now be trained on her and she needs to work harder with the added responsibility of living up to her new-found stature. “From now on responsibilities (expectations) are high and everyone’s eyes are on me. This is just the beginning and I need to work harder,” said Sindhu after she was felicitated here, along with national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, by non-profit organisation, Olympic Gold Quest, which has supported her from the age of 15.
“I feel very happy with my achievements. I was able to win back to back world championship medals. When I won that first bronze medal (in the world championship) I started to get recognised. And now responsibilities are high. Olympics is something which comes once in four years. There is a lot more to go,” said the 21-year-old from Hyderabad.
Sindhu lost to Spain’s reigning world champion and top seed Carolina Marin in three games in a pulsating final to settle for second place in women’s singles at last month’s Rio Games which was the young shuttler’s first appearance in the quadrennial multi-sports spectacle. “I am very happy. OGQ gave me great support at all times from the age of 15. I won my Maldives international tournament which started the journey. The infrastructure in the Gopichand Academy (in Hyderabad) has been phenomenal. What we have is more than enough,” said Sindhu whose parents — former volleyball internationals P V Ramana and Vijaya — were also honoured at the function.
— Pvsindhu (@Pvsindhu1) 7 September 2016
— Pvsindhu (@Pvsindhu1) 7 September 2016
“It was a good game overall. It was her (Carolina’s) day and she played well. From the first round it was very tough. There was no easy match. I took it one match at a time. Gopi Sir told me to give my best, play my game. He was always supporting and motivating me. I really worked hard and we worked out before every match,” Sindhu explained.
Sindhu also said that the jump smash that she uncorked at the Olympics was a new weapon that she had started to use while training before the Games.
“The jump smash was very helpful in this tournament. Gopi sir had always told me to use it, but I never tried it (earlier). Initially it was a bit tough (to master) as all my strokes were going into the net. Later, everything went well and everyone started asking me about it. It’s one of the weapons I have, I can say,” said Sindhu.
Normally a calm person on court, Sindhu surprised everyone at the Games by expressing her emotions openly during the feverishly fought final, in which she came back from 16-19 to win the opening game before losing the match. “Aggression should always be on your face and you need to be alert for every point. If you take it easy for one point you may lose many. It was an Olympic final. The whole week was wonderful. I never thought I will reach the final,” she said.
“Against Carolina, I was well prepared. I had met her in Denmark (Open). I made 2-3 mistakes and she took the lead. The shuttles were also a bit fast. Had I won those points, things could have been different,” she added.
The 2-1 victory over Michelle Li of Canada in the preliminary group stage was also a result of careful planning, said Sindhu. “I and Gopi sir prepared well strategy-wise. I was disappointed by my loss to her in the CWG. But I did not think about that match. It was a fresh match and I thought I had really worked hard and played my heart out,” said Sindhu.
“It’s not really easy for a tall person as far as agility is concerned. For the last two and a half months, I was very focused in working out (on the agility front) and it really improved,” said Sindhu.
Although Chinese women did not win any medal at the Rio Games, Sindhu did not think their dominance was ending. “Whoever does well and gives the best on that day wins,” she said.
Looking ahead, Sindhu said her first competition would be the $700,000 Denmark Open Super Series Premier followed by the $300,000 Paris Open a week later. “There are many tournaments coming up — the ($1 million) Dubai World Super Series finals (from Dec 14-18); and before that the Denmark Open and Paris (French Open),” she said.