P.V. Sindhu: ‘Final phobia thing of the past'

India’s first badminton world champion P.V. Sindhu was mobbed at the airport after she touched down with national coach Pullela Gopichand by her side.

Sindhu with her World Championships gold medal at the Gopi Chand Academy.   -  Nagara Gopal

Fresh from her World Championship singles gold, P.V. Sindhu says her ultimate target is to win the Tokyo Olympics gold next year. Speaking on her arrival at the Gopichand Academy here on Tuesday night, Sindhu said she is finally relieved to win the gold after losing two consecutive finals in the same tournament.

"Yes, many talked about the final phobia but now that is a thing of the past and I will start preparing for the Olympics in the right earnest," she said.

READ| Sindhu: World Championship title is my answer to those who questioned me

She went onto heap praise on the coaching team. "I have been waiting for this gold for long and it was the result of collective effort of everyone including Gopi (Pullela Gopi Chand) sir, Kim Ji Hyun and others at the Academy. This performance is not just because of my efforts only," the 24-year-old said.

Kim Ji Hyun, a former international from South Korea, joined the coaching staff earlier this year on Gopichand’s recommendation.

Speaking of the final, Sindhu said, "I believed in myself before the final and came back stronger. I took it like any other match... learnt from my mistakes and I am glad I played really well. I didn't think of the losses in the past and felt no pressure at all."

Sai Praneeth, Sindhu and Pullela Gopi Chand speak to the media.   -  Nagara Gopal

 

She added, "Some meditation classes recently also helped me to stay calm in some situations," she said.

The Hyderabad-born shuttler said the Worlds gold will be a big boost in her preparation for the Olympics next year. "When I look at the Olympics this means a lot in terms of confidence, to move forward. I am conscious of the very tough competition in the circuit where you have to keep strategising every two minutes on the court because you will be up against different players with different styles," Sindhu explained.

Sindhu also lauded B. Sai Praneeth for his bronze and that he really played well. She felt that it was a big feat and wished he would go on to win more laurels.

For chief national coach Gopi Chand, Sindhu winning gold was his biggest dream and that he was glad she pulled it on the biggest stage in style. "I must say we badly needed this especially for Sindhu, having lost two finals. It was a class victory," he said.

Gopi also felt that 2020 Olympics will be different for Sindhu compared to 2016 Rio Games for she will be a marked player.

The coach also had praise for India's para athletes' showing in BWF Para Badminton World Championships. "It was also a pleasure to watch Manasi Joshi to win gold in Para World's at the same venue and other Indians win medals in this category. Very inspirational performances from them," he said.

Monetary reward

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju presented a cheque of Rs 10 lakh  to Sindhu for her historic triumph at the World Championships in Basel, Switzerland. The minister also extended his congratulations to Sai Praneeth besides rewarding him with a cheque of Rs 4 lakh for winning a bronze medal at the championships, India’s first men’s singles medal at the worlds since Prakash Padukone’s feat in 1983.

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