Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, a 21 year old girl didn’t just won a medal at the Olympics. She united an entire nation to pray for her, she made people sit in front of their television set to watch her Badminton matches, she made people love the game of Badminton. In one word, PV Sindhu made history.
PV Sindhu is the first ever Indian woman to win a Silver medal in an individual event, but the aftermaths of her monumental success is far more radiated than just the medal. And the road to this feat was not a cakewalk.
She has made her big steps forward without any massive hype, which has been a blessing in disguise. A young, lanky girl who is very soft spoken and down to earth, got the proper guidance from her coaching stuffs and started to perform well since the World Championship in 2013. Since then, Sindhu has risen to the very optimum, and yet under the shadow of Saina Nehwal, until the Rio Olympics.
Preparation and the role of her coach:
Sindhu’s preparation started with one of her legs fractured, so basically it was bit of a handicapped start to her preparation for the Olympics. She was recovering from her injury but her coach and her physio never made her feel so and injected positive energy.
C Kiran, PV Sindhu’s physio and trainer was doing more than patching together a fractured foot — that famous long leg that lunged Indian badminton massively forward with a silver medal at the Rio Olympics. Kiran had decided the rest of the body was ready to plod along even if it meant sitting on a bench and skilling up.
“It’s not like she was sitting at home for 2-3 weeks. Gopi and me knew we didn’t want to waste time. You see, the other leg was fine, so was the upper body and the abs. We simply designed a way to improve her skills while one leg was still in a cast,” Kiran recalls.
She had training sessions that started from 4 am and continued for 7 hours with two small snack breaks in between. “4 am to 7 am. Then 7.15 to 9.30. Then 9.45 to 11.30,” Kiran remembers. It was routine, as was the strict enforcing of rules for sleeping and waking up.
Kiran, though, reckons the toughest workout was keeping her away from her phone. Someone who loved her phone weaned away from it — because the distractions went beyond the on-phone time. “Not just her, all the young people find it tough,” he says. That shows the devotion and hard work she underwent for the quest of a decent outing at Rio. Also her mental preparation was important and coach Gopichand used to do so. They had to make her focus on her next game even after a close victory in the previous match. Concentrating on the next match was tough just after a hard fought win, as the glory moment tends to stay in the mind.
The Journey in Rio:
PV Sindhu was drawn in Group M of the Women’s Singles Badminton event.
- She played her first match on 11th August, and won easily against Hungarian Laura Sarosi. She beat her opponent by a mere 21-8, 21-9 scoreline.
- Sindhu’s second match in her group was against Canada’s Michelle Li. The Indian shuttler lost her first set 19-21, but came back brilliantly to win the next two sets 21-15, 21-17 to advance to the last 16 of the tournament.
- Her opponent in the last 16 round was Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying. The Indian girl beat her in straight sets to advance to the quarter finals. The scoreline was 21-13, 21-15.
- In the Quarter finals, it was a tough match against Wang Yihan of China. The Chinese shuttler gave her all but in the end class prevailed as Sindhu proved to be too much for her and wrapped the game up in straight sets.
- The whole country was praying for PV Sindhu as she was up against Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in the semis. A medal was assured as the other loosing Semi-finalist Li Xuerui was unable to compete due to her injury. But the Indian girl made history by beating her opponent 21-19, 21-10 and booked her name in the finals to lock horns against Spanish star Carolina Marin.
- In the grand final of the event, Sindhu though unfancied, took a deserved lead in the first set. Her smashes, movement was too hot to handle for the Spanish player and Sindhu won the first set 21-19. She started the second set brilliantly but lost her way, Carolina took control of the game and leveled the tie by winning the second set 21-12. The momentum was with the Spanish and it proved to be right as she won the final set despite Sindhu’s valiant efforts. Despite the loss India’s PV Sindhu made history and it was a proud moment for the billions.
PV Sindhu’s Silver medal has inspired people across the country to be more involved in the game. She created history, the cherry in the cake was missed as she couldn’t win the Final but in the broader prospect it does mean very less. The significance of her achievement is the desire of many girl dreaming to be like Sindhu in future. A country that is utterly dominated by Cricket, girls from certain parts will now be idolizing her in the quest of becoming a Badminton player, there is the ultimate success of PV Sindhu.
An outstanding achievement in the biggest arena of sports has opened the floodgates of more talents to indulge themselves in the game. Sindhu won the Silver, we just hope and believe that Gold is not far away.
Photo by p4pratikbehera