PV Sindhu (TOI Photo)
CHANDIGARH: A couple of years ago, when PV Sindhu lost seven consecutive finals, questions were raised about her mental strength, lack of killer instinct and final phobia, earning her the epithet, ‘Silver Sindhu.’
“What people do not understand is reaching the final is also an achievement,” Sindhu said, answering her critics during an online chat session, ‘Let the Bird Fly! Moving On With Badminton‘, hosted by former India international Ameeta Singh.
“You don’t go and directly play the final. You have to play many matches. Back in 2018, when I lost seven consecutive finals, people used to ask me, ‘What’s happening in the finals?’ But they need to understand I can’t win all the tournaments,” said the world champion.
Here are some other highlights from the chat…
On handling pressure
Sindhu had burst on to the scene, when as a 16-year-old she stunned London Olympics gold medallist Li Li Xuerui in the quarterfinals of China Masters. She went on to win five medals in the prestigious World Championships — two bronze, two silver and a gold, besides the Olympic silver medal four years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
“My life is divided in two phases, before Rio and after Rio. After the silver at the Olympics, expectations skyrocketed. To keep the same level of intensity in all tournaments is tough, but at the same time this is the reason we train so hard,” she said.
“Once I step on to the court, my only focus is to win the match. But with time I have realised sometimes even giving 100 per cent on the court will not win you matches. You just have to move on because as an athlete you know that you have given your best,” said Sindhu.
On battling Injuries
Sindhu also spoke about how she fought her way back and qualified for the Rio Olympics after suffering a stress fracture in 2015, due to which she remained out of action for more than six months.
“When I had a stress fracture in 2015 I had pain but didn’t tell anyone. I was bearing that pain and then told my dad that there was pain and we went and took an X-ray and a stress fracture was revealed. It was really bad.
“It took almost like eight months and I didn’t play for six months. The 2016 Olympics qualification was there and I was almost depressed. I played almost 22 tournaments after the injury and got selected for Rio. It was not a small injury.
“Even though I was injured I was doing my upper body exercise. I believed that I can do it and I have done it.”
Life in lockdown
While Sindhu currently continues to train at home and is having a relaxed time with her family during the Covid-19 pandemic, she has also picked up new skills.
“I have been learning a few things, like painting. I am also cooking and baking. It’s really interesting because earlier it was always badminton but now you are learning different stuff which is creative,” said Sindhu.
Badminton post Covid-19
The ace shuttler along with her fellow badminton players is waiting for the green light from the state government to resume training amid the pandemic.
“We must maintain social distancing once this is all over. As a player, we must get used to playing in empty stadium because it will happen, there is a scare everywhere. We just have to live with it,” she said.
To the youngsters
Sindhu believes that for any kid who wants to become a sportsperson, family support is the most important thing.
“My parents took voluntary retirement so that they could focus on me. We even changed our house because the academy was far. Family support is the most important thing. Next is enjoying the game. Winning and losing is secondary as long as you are enjoying the sport,” she said.