Sindhu: Shuttling between studies and badminton

P. V. Sindhu's college lecturer talks about her pupil's balancing act of being a star shuttler and a bright student.

Despite the pressures of playing badminton at the highest level, P. V. Sindhu copes with her academics.   -  PTI

“P.V. Sindhu’s weakness for 5 Star chocolates, Mysore Pak, noodles and fried rice is well known,” said Vimala Reddy, a Physical Education lecturer at St. Ann’s Degree and PG College for Women in Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad. “For me it’s a lifetime achievement to have her as a student,” she said, all set to watch her famous pupil’s 2016 Rio Olympics badminton semi-final face-off with Nozomi Okuhara on Thursday evening.

The teacher is amazed by the shuttler’s balancing act of competing in international tournaments and doing well in academics. Sindhu has never taken a supplementary exam despite all the pressures of her sporting career.

“I remember a time when she was competing in an international tournament in Delhi, flying down to Hyderabad for each of her five exams, which fortunately had a day’s break between each of them. She’d fly back and return for the next exam,” recalled Reddy.

When she had completed intermediate in the junior college section, other institutions offered her admission. But her parents consciously chose to let her continue at St. Ann’s. Sindhu, despite her celebrity status, would quietly slip into college, parking her car near the sports department.

Down to earth, Sindhu relates to all and sundry, often enquiring about the ground staff on her visits. With just a day’s notice of her felicitation before leaving for Rio, students put up 35 posters wishing her luck. Her college friends proudly wear ‘PV Sindhu, India’ T-shirts.

“Sindhu, being a swift learner, never needs to be told a second time,” says Reddy. In the first year of her course, Sindhu received the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri in the final year.

What endears her to the college community is Sindhu giving away her playing kit, ranging from bags to racquets and each year’s books to needy sportswomen of the next batch. She has gifted 40 sets of her playing kit.

Last September, Sindhu, a fan of Tollywood superstar Mahesh Babu, enrolled for the college’s MBA programme. The seven-year bond Reddy and Sindhu share remains solid, evident from the latter contacting her teacher on Whatsapp after reaching Rio.

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