An Olympic medal was PV Sindhus dream from early in her career. And winning the silver medal in her maiden Games in Rio has pushed the 21-year-old out of the shadows of her illustrious compatriot Saina Nehwal and elevated her to a status India usually reserves for its cricketers.
Its easy to be swayed when under the spotlight and showered with monetary incentives, but Sindhu vows to be different.
I got back to training as soon as I could to prepare for the Denmark and French Opens, she smiles. She lost in the second round in both events last month, but is not disheartened. Im training for the China and Hong Kong Opens (starting next week). Weve been looking at what went wrong and are rectifying them. There have been slight changes in the training sessions.
She towers over most of her opponents, but has struggled for the kind of consistency that took her to the final of the Rio Games. Her body language has transformed, confidence level has zoomed.
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The 21year-old credits the Rio run for that. My life has changed. The responsibilities are more, she says in a matter-of-fact manner. I know all eyes are going to be on me but I shouldnt take it as pressure. If I keep thinking I have to win, thats putting extra pressure on me. I should just stay focused on doing my best, Sindhu said on the sidelines of the Premier Badminton League auction here on Wednesday.
Saina, who won bronze at the London Olympics, suffered a knee injury at Rio, and her surgery and comeback attempt has set the social media abuzz.
Only last year, Sindhu had found herself in a similar situation after being forced to miss almost three months due to a stress fracture on her left foot. I was very upset but my parents and coach motivated me. Touch wood, everything is perfect now. Ive done my rehab. Injuries are part of life. You just have to be strong enough to face it.
Saina will make her comeback in the China Open and the two can meet in the quarters. After Sindhus silver, the social media even suggested it was time for Saina to pack her bags.
Sindhu has never beaten Saina in a competitive match. During an injury, everyone is going to be upset thinking what will happen next. Its good she (Saina) has come out of that. Now she has to be confident to face whatever comes (her way).