Sindhu, Saina savour Asian Games medals, vow to become better players

“There will be serious efforts again to keep learning from the mistakes and try to be better players for sure,” Saina said on return to India.

Asian Games medallists P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal with chief coach P. Gopi Chand in Hyderabad on Thursday.   -  K.V.S. Giri

The smiles said it all as the chief national coach P. Gopi Chand and his two illustrious wards — Asian Games silver medallist P.V. Sindhu and bronze medallist Saina Nehwal — flashed their proud achievements on arrival at Gopi Academy here on Thursday.

“It is never easy to win a medal in an event like Asian Games which comes once in four years. Yes, the target will be definitely to change the colour of the medal next time, hopefully,” a visibly content Saina said. 

“We have been through tough situations where it didn’t matter whether we were facing the World No.1 for No. 50. But I am glad that I could win a medal in fourth Asian Games and this completes my achievements in all major international events including Olympics, Worlds, Super Series and now the Asian Games,” she said.

“There will be serious efforts again to keep learning from the mistakes and try to be better players for sure,” Saina said.

“It is not like I am on a comeback trail. But yes, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to come back from a surgery. However, because of the wonderful support of Gopi Sir and all the support staff, I am feeling much fitter and better now. Yes, I am trying too hard now,” she said.

READ: Tai Tzu Ying too good for Sindhu

“There is always scope for corrections in your game and I am going to work on how to beat the likes of Tai Tzu Ying, who we felt was exceptional,” the London Olympics bronze medallist said.

For her part, Sindhu felt winning two medals in badminton in the Asiad was definitely a proud moment for the country.

Saina gets bronze after losing to top seed for 10th time

“Yes, the expectations will always be for more. But, again everyone should understand that we put in the best efforts for the best results. Sometimes you win sometimes you don’t,” she said.

“The journey since Rio Olympics silver has been great. Definitely, I can’t compare my silver in all three events — Olympics, Worlds (twice) and now Asian Games. But, I must say each medal is a special moment in the given context,” she said.

“There are lot of things to learn even from a defeat and look forward to. We have to take the positives and the confidence by working on the weaknesses,” Sindhu said.

WATCH: Sindhu and Saina’s medals will inspire others

“We would like to thank Gopi Sir and the complete support staff including my physio Gayathri who has been of great help to me,” Sindhu said.

Gopi said there was nothing to be disappointed about at India missing out on a gold. “I must say both Saina and Sindhu have many years of badminton left. So, there is always a possibility of improving upon our performances,” he said.

“Well, to beat the likes of Tai Tzu, who I think is a complete package of a champion player, one has to be consistent and really work hard. One must also remember that we had very little time to prepare for the Asiad, coming so close to the Worlds,” he said.

The chief coach also reminded that Ratchanok Intanon proved that once you create doubts in Tai Tzu’s minds, the latter can falter. “So, it is not that is impossible to beat the World No.1 but you need special effort and greater consistency,” he said.

On men’s performance in Asiad, Gopi again felt the doubles combinations did reasonably well and that the conditions in Jakarta Asiad were not ideal for a player like Srikanth. “He was not used to such conditions and had tough time in controlling the shuttle which was slower because of the design of the stadium also,” he said.

“Definitely, the Indian performance could have been better than the two medals we got. But, we have to keep moving on and plan our preparations in right earnest.”