Winning Olympic gold for India will be an excellent way to announce the new decade
Apparently, 2020 promises to be a year of adjustment of accounts for Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. She has come a long way since being that lanky girl from Hyderabad who surprised everyone by winning the silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. This time Sindhu enters the Tokyo Olympics as the reigning world champion. And the 24-year-old knows that all of India will encourage her to become the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal when 2020 Summer Olympics It starts in July. It is a huge responsibility. Wherever you go, people talk about an Olympic medal. I look forward to meeting the expectations that people have of me, ”says Sindhu, as he settles to chat with the Hyderabad Times. Excerpts
It was in 2009 that he won his first bronze medal in the international circuit at the Asian Sub-Junior Badminton Championship in Colombo. Today you are the champion of BWF. It has been a magnificent decade for you ...
Yes, I can't believe it is 2020. The last decade was really good for me and I feel I grew more and more as a player. The biggest record, of course, was to win the gold medal at the World Championship in Basel last year. More than anything else, all the love I have received from the people of India has been overwhelming. It feels great to be entering the new decade as the current world champion. I hope to be able to carry the winning momentum in this decade too and win many more medals for India. Winning Olympic gold for India will be a great way to announce the new decade.
How are the preparations for the Olympic Games going?
They are going very well; I'm training hard with Mr. Gopi and Park Tae Sang. I returned from tour on January 2 and will start the year with Malaysia Masters, which will begin on January 7. The pre-Tokyo preparation will be intense. The Olympic qualifiers will also arrive soon, so the whole focus is on that, everything else will be in the background.
In 2016, you won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics. Does the experience of doing so well in the previous Olympic Games give you an additional advantage this time?
It will be very different compared to Rio, because the players are different and the game has evolved a lot since then. Then the strategies will also be different. Last time, I was just a promising player in the Olympic Games, but this time, I am the current World Champion and the Olympic silver medalist, so expectations will be much higher since people expect a medal from me. That is a great responsibility and motivates me to try harder and do my best on the court and, hopefully, win the elusive Olympic gold medal for India.
The euphoria that unleashed his historic victory at the BWF World Championship was unprecedented for Indian badminton. Hundreds arrived at the airport to welcome him and suddenly the whole country wanted a piece of PV Sindhu. Did all the adulation and attention disappoint you? You faced a series of early departures from several tournaments, including the BWF Tour Finals, from ...
Well, I really enjoyed the tremendous reception I received. It was a long awaited victory and it is something very important for me. I already had two bronze and two silver medals and I wanted gold. I knew I needed to be on top of my game. It was a great week for me in Basel and I have made some invaluable memories. Yes, flattery got a little overwhelming at times, but I really enjoy it. It's always nice to see so many people come to me, ask for autographs and selfies. I feel like a real star, and that is a great feeling. Speaking of my performance, yes, there were some ups and downs.
In sports, you win and lose something. But the important thing is to believe in yourself. After the World Championship, I had a hard time when I lost in the first round and before the quarterfinals in several tournaments. But I didn't let that get me stuck. I always learn from my mistakes, and I think that is very important.
The fall in its form has given a lot of ammo to its critics ...
The best way to respond to criticism is to do my best every time you enter the field, and that is what I plan to do. In sports, there are always wins and losses and all I can control is how I play my game. I think it's important to choose your tournaments as a player, so you can give your 100 percent all the time. Because although playing tournaments is important, it is equally important to stay fit.
Speaking of physical condition, he recently suffered a scare of injury after receiving a blow to the eye. Have you fully recovered since then?
If everything is fine. There is nothing to worry about (laughs). I try to strike a balance between skill and endurance in my training. Sometimes, there will be long matches and you will get tired, so that is when you have to find the strength from within to get ahead. My exercise regimen consists of weight training to improve strength and many agility exercises to run to increase my endurance and movement on the court.
Off the court, you seem to be on top of your fashion game lately. You've been the best at all the important events in Hyderabad and you've seen absolutely stunning. Has there been a conscious effort to look more fashionable?
In addition to badminton, fashion is something I really love. It helps me to stop thinking about the game for a while. I enjoy the process of choosing an outfit, putting on
Makeup and beauty to go to an event. I really like dressing up, that's for sure. No matter how tired I am, I will never leave without feeling good about my appearance. I am very particular about it. And my appearance depends on where I go. My fashion cover is to be myself and I like to wear clothes that fit me and where I feel comfortable.
Looking fashionable can be a full-time job in itself. Is there anyone to help you choose outfits and style for events?
Well, I have a team of stylists but, ultimately, I have the last word. Only if I am completely comfortable and satisfied with my appearance, will I use it. As an athlete, comfort is more important when it comes to clothing. If your clothes are not comfortable, you will not wear them on the court, right? The same applies to me when choosing other sets too. But when I dress, I don't think he's an athlete. I'm just a girl who wants to look good.
The demanding international badminton schedule can be burdensome, even for the best athletes. What do you do to relax?
At home, I only spend time with my family. My parents are there for me and motivate me all the time. As they were also athletes, they understand the challenges I face. I am very grateful for your support. I also love spending time with my one and a half year old nephew, Aryan. We watch movies together and do little fun things. He is my biggest stressor. I love traveling too. Although my trips abroad are usually full of training and tournaments, sometimes I take time off to explore the place. Last year, I went to Switzerland and it is my favorite place by far. Italy and Greece are the destinations of my dreams and I hope to visit those places in 2020. Obviously, it is a very busy year with the Olympic Games. Maybe if I win in Tokyo, I will go to celebrate (laughs).