Hyderabad: Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, India's only female double Olympic Medalist in Badminton, returned to Hyderabad to a rousing reception. She defeated China's He Bingjiao in the bronze medal playoff.
In an exclusive chat with NewsMeter, PV Sindhu spoke about her training at Hyderabad's Suchitra Academy, her preparation for the Olympics, post-training recovery, her coach's contribution, her mental strength, and plans for Paris Olympics.
"Definitely this is a special one. We always aim for that. I'm very happy that we did it. There is a lot to learn from this. This gives me a lot of motivation, support & encouragement. With this medal, I think a lot of people supported me in this. The whole ecosystem I would say. Getting there, I'm very proud and happy," she said.
On her coach Park Tae-Sang's contribution, she said his hard work and dedication were not less than her. "Even in this pandemic, he sacrificed a lot. He couldn't go back home to Korea. In the last one year, he was only home for 13 days. Hats off to his dedication and hard work. Our dream has come true where we always wanted a medal in Tokyo. So thank you once again, Mr. Park (laughs)," she said
On this occasion, Park Tae-Sang greeted the countrymen with traditional `Namaste'. "Thank you, everyone. Many people have congratulated us & I'm very happy. The pandemic was very tough and we've worked very hard. I will never forget this moment in life. This is not only Sindhu's first Olympic medal with me, it's my first Olympic medal as well. So I'd like to say, thank you, Sindhu. We will now try to get more medals with Sindhu. Be it Asian games, commonwealth games, or Paris Olympics. I will try again with Sindhu. I would like to tell Sindhu, let's prepare for Paris 2024 and practice again from tomorrow (laughs)," he said.
Sindhu said mental strengthen is very important for such big events. "I'm sure, compared to 2016 and now, responsibilities & expectations are a lot more. So it was very important for me to be focused, calm, and composed to go out there and give my best. So yes, mental strength is very important," she said
She said her trainer at Srikanth Verma at Suchitra Academy sacrificed everything for achieving this feat. "We all know that only when we bear the pain, we will be successful. We've sacrificed whatever it took and did everything because we knew how valuable getting that medal was. We thought back then that it is our collective dream to win a medal in Tokyo. It wasn't like we've already gotten a medal. Yes, that medal did change my life. The amount of hard work in the last 5 years was worth it. Yes, we've worked hard and this is not the end sir. It's not just till here (laughs) but a lot is to be won. I will definitely play in Paris and do my best," she said.
She said she has been training with Srikanth Verma since 2017 and it is still going on. "Unfortunately he couldn't come to Tokyo but his hard work and dedication have brought me here. As you all know how important, physical fitness is. So he is behind that. Thank you sir!" she said.
Sindhu thanked Praveen Raju, Pradeep Raju, director, and vice-chairman of Suchitra Academy for putting in a lot of effort and having faith in her. "Whenever I wanted to go there for practice, I did, and also for training sessions. My physio, Evangeline is from Suchitra Academy, she also traveled with me to Tokyo. They helped me with a lot of things. I train there. I do my physical fitness there. So thank you Praveen and Pradeep sir for everything (laughs)," She said.
She also thanked her parents and credited them for her success. "Finally I would like to thank my parents and family. It's because of them that I'm here today. It's just because of their hard work & sacrifice. Right from my childhood, my parents guide me. I feel I'm lucky as they're sportspersons. They've experienced all this and thus have told me what to do. So thank you so much to them, "she said.
Sindhu expressed her gratitude to everyone who was part of her journey. "I would like to thank all the support staff. It's not me alone but the entire ecosystem that has come together. I think that is how champions are made. It comes to the coach, physios, trainers, the support system which includes, family members," she said.
And how can she forget media. " Thank you to you all as well. Since there was no crowd in Tokyo, still a couple of people from the Indian media were cheering and supporting me with the national flag. So, yes, thank you so much," she said.