Sindhu hopeful of a dream championship final with Saina

“Yes, there was a possibility of both of us playing in the final. But it did not happen. Surely, one day we will play in the final of an Inter-continental championship,” said World championship silver medallist during her visit to the Gopi Chand Academy.

P.V. Sindhu displays her World championship silver medal in the company of her mentor and chief coach Pullela Gopi Chand at the Gopi Academy in Hyderabad on Tuesday.   -  V.V. Subrahmanyam

 

On the National Sports Day, it was more than symbolic when one of the most cherished Guru-Sishya combination of chief coach Pullela Gopi Chand and the World championship silver medallist P.V. Sindhu stepped into the Gopi Chand Academy which has become the hub of Indian badminton in itself on Tuesday.

And, a very dignified Sindhu feels the Indian badminton is on a high what with two medals from the recent Worlds – Saina Nehwal won bronze – and there are much better days ahead for the sport.

Sindhu was hopeful of a dream final betwen the two in the near future. “Yes, there was a possibility of both of us playing in the final. But it did not happen. Surely, one day we will play in the final of an Inter-continental championship,” she said on her arrival at the academy.

Sindhu said sports in general, and women in particular, are getting wonderful support from the Government in the recent past. “I remember when we met Modiji after the Rio Olympics silver last year. He personally asked me if I wanted something more to keep doing well at the highest level. That is the kind of assurance you have now from the highest level,” she said.

Sindhu played down talks of being the pin-up athlete for Indian sports. “Well, it is a great feeling to be looked at as someone who can change the perspective of Indian sports in terms of switching popularity from cricket to badminton. You all know Sachin is a legend. So, no comparisons please. But, I am glad that there is a greater following to the sport now,” Sindhu said.

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After the championships, Sindhu and Saina posed with their medals for Rio gold medallist Carolina Marin’s mother outside the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. “It was so nice and sweet on part of Carolina Marin’s mother to take some pictures as we came out of the venue after the final. She was kind enough and was really very happy with my performance having watched me in action from the stands,” Sindhu recalled.

For his part, a visibly composed Gopi said that it was a great moment to see two Indians win medals in the Worlds and that it could not have got any bigger and better on a day when they celebrate the National Sports Day in memory legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand.

“This is also largely because we have people right from the top level – Prime Minister Modiji who has addressed successfully so many times not just about winning or losing in sports but the kind of moral support extended to the sports fraternity itself,” the chief national coach said.

The former All England Open Badminton champion was also pleased at the success of other Indian shuttlers during the Worlds. “We are fortunate to have players like Saina and Sindhu who pushed the bar in many aspects of the game – be it skills on the court, fitness levels. Even in men’s singles, Srikanth reaching his second quarterfinal in a World championship and the doubles pairs have done well but were clearly eclipsed by the Sindhu show,” Gopi said.

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The coach from Hyderabad was optimistic about Sindhu going on to achieve more success in her already decorated career. “Yes, we have broken a barrier in the World championship where we have been winning only one medal since 2011 by picking two this time around. Hopefully, Sindhu will end her career with many golds in her cabin,” said the smiling coach.

Speaking about unearthing newer talent, Gopi said, “We are aware that lot more needs to be done, ensure we put in our best efforts and in this context I believe that the Sports Talent Web Portal launched by the Central Government in helping the young talent across the country is a great initiative. I was aware of its concept and wish it would inspire many more to take up sports with all seriousness.”