Hyderabad: “Brutal. I’m exhausted just watching this. But now there’s no mystery about why she’s the World Champ. A whole generation of budding Indian sportspersons will follow her lead & not shrink from the commitment required to get to the top…” This is what Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra and Mahindra Group, described in his twitter handle after seeing the video of PV Sindhu’s training sessions in 2019 after she won the World Championship title.
There is no letup in Sindhu’s intensive training session as she gears up for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The man behind Sindhu’s `monstrous’ training is 40-year-old Srikanth Varma Madapalli, strength and conditioning coach. Sindhu has been sweating it out at Suchitra Badminton Academy for the Tokyo Games. “Sindhu is ready for the Olympics, mentally and physically,’’ said Srikanth.
Srikanth has been working with Sindhu for the last five years. “She is a born athlete and she is a delight to any strength and conditioning trainer. I worked with many athletes but Sindhu’s work ethic is supreme. She has the ability to take any amount of load and looks fresh even the next day. She does all this with a smile. That is the beauty of Sindhu. That is the reason I have been able to work with her all these years. She never shows any anger in the work out. Importantly, she has been injury free all these years. I have done a lot of research while giving the training to Sindhu,’’ said Srikanth.
Being introduced by Praveen Raju and Pradeep Raju, Srikanth was stumped by Sindhu’s demeanor when he met her for the first time in 2017. “She had no airs of being a super star. (PV) Ramana garu simply told me to take care of his daughter and treat the way he does to other athletes. He gave me the full freedom. That gave me the huge encouragement to train Sindhu. She is a different athlete who believes in result-oriented training. She is focused and disciplined. It took two days to assess her and before I began her training sessions.’’
Srikanth said Sindhu’s fitness has been constantly improving. “I worked on her requirements and what is required for the hard rigour. She made tremendous progress. She was willing to take the extra load. So I went ahead with rigorous training as we knew to succeed in world stages it needs a supremely fit body.’’
According to the trainer, the world championship title was the result of hard work. “Although Sindhu could not win the title in 2017 and 2018, we decided to increase the workload. I could see the burning desire and the hunger in her to win the World Championship. I’m seeing it now again for the Olympic gold.’’
Srikanth said Sindhu has got this gene from her father Ramana, who himself was a volleyball player. “Though lean, she has got it from her father to be mentally and physically strong.’’
For Sindhu and Srikanth, the biggest challenge is the Tokyo Olympics.
“We had this Covid-19 pandemic but we never stopped the training session. It was a four-year programme in which she could be primed for the Tokyo Olympics. Since the last 45 days I have worked on explosive power because other competitors too might be working on these lines. Since I saw some of the players in action in international meets I could study their body language and capacity etc. So accordingly, I designed her training for the Olympics. We also focused on the footwork and the capacity to play long rallies (30 to 35) and long matches (three games). I will be monitoring her from Hyderabad during the Olympics.’’
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