Hyderabad: Badminton player PV Sindhu etched her name in the history books by becoming the only female athlete from India with two Olympic medals – silver from Rio Olympics and a bronze from Tokyo Games.
The 26-year-old said she is very proud of the achievement and wants to enjoy every moment of it. The shuttler, who landed in New Delhi on Tuesday, returned to Hyderabad on Wednesday. “I am very proud of this moment. Winning back-to-back medals for the country is a great achievement and I want to cherish these moments,” she said on her return.
She also said the medal at Tokyo was more special considering that she had to work harder for it. “After the Rio Games, the expectations were more this time and I had to stay focused on the job throughout.” She added the medal was a result of the hard work of many people. “I have to thank especially my coach Park (Tae Sang) who had worked very hard with dedication. He hasn’t seen his family in over a year. The Suchitra Academy where I train and got sparring partners from and the sacrifices made by my family, the whole ecosystem came together for success.”
Sindhu also revealed that she is focused on the Paris Olympics in 2024 and will start preparations soon. “I am definitely going to play in Paris. But right now, I want to enjoy these moments. We also have Commonwealth Games and Asian Games coming.” When asked about eyeing world No.1 rank, she said, “I feel, if I play well in tournaments, the ranking will automatically improve. So, I am not worried about that.”
She said her life changed after the Rio Games and learnt a lot from there on. “The journey has so many ups and downs. I have learnt a lot. Of course in 2021 the pandemic has changed everything. With no tournaments, we focused on our technique and proved to be the difference,” she revealed.
Sindhu, who started training at the Gachibowli indoor stadium since February for the Tokyo Games, said she will continue training at the same SATS facility from here on. “Shifting the training to Gachibowli academy has made a lot of difference. The conditions there are similar to the ones in Tokyo stadium. The drift control and getting used to the match situation helped a lot. So, I will start training at the stadium from here on. I must also thank the government of Telangana as they took no time to give permission to play at the Gachibowli stadium when we asked them.”
Meanwhile, coach Park said he would never forget the moment in his life. “When I started training her, she was already a big star then. This is also my first medal at the Olympics. So I would never forget this moment. I hope to continue to work with her in the future,” he added.
Suchitra Badminton Academy’s head coach and director Pradeep Raju said Sindhu’s hard work and dedication was the motivation for them to work harder. “Every minute and every second counts and that was Sindhu’s mantra. That was also the driving force for us. Looking at Sindhu winning the medals gives us a lot of satisfaction.”
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