P. V. Sindhu, the reigning badminton world champion, says she feels great two win not one, but two awards at the 2020 Sportstar ACES – Sportswoman of the Year (Racquet Sports) as well as Sportstar of the Year.
" Sportstar has been very special for me. When I was younger and when I first featured in a poster in the magazine, it was a big deal for me. I was really happy about it. Years went by and now to get these award means a lot. It is motivating. I thank the jury for recognising the work we do for the country,” the star badminton player said.
Having missed the awards ceremony in Mumbai on account of the Malaysia Masters, Sindhu’s coach, P. Gopichand, collected the award for Sportswoman of the Year (Racquet Sports) on her behalf. A week later, L. V. Navaneeth, chief executive officer of The Hindu Group Publishing, and Ayon Sengupta, Sportstar ’s editor, presented the Sportstar of the Year award to her in Chennai.
“It feels great to win not one but two awards. It gives you a lot of confidence to take your game forward, do better and win medals for the country,” Sindhu said.
The 24-year-old’s World Championships triumph was the first for an Indian. Sindhu was also the only Indian to feature in the BWF World Tour Finals, where the top eight players in the world — eight each among the men and the women — compete. She was also second only to Virat Kohli, the captain of Indian men’s cricket team, in terms of earnings from brand endorsements in 2019, according to Forbes .
“It’s been a good year, even though I had my fair share of ups and downs. The World Championship gold stood out. After losing in the finals, getting three bronze and two silver medals, it felt great to finally get the gold. That was a much-awaited win,” she said.
Acknowledging the contribution of the awards towards pushing more women to take up sports, she said, “Women are equal to men and our biggest barrier is our thought that we can’t do something. We can achieve anything if we just believe in ourselves.”
With 1.6 million followers on Instagram, 2.8 million on Twitter and 1.3 million on Facebook, it’s hard for someone like Sindhu to escape the critics, but she has learnt to filter the good from the bad. “Whenever I go for a tournament, I am expected to bring back a medal. But I have come to take it as a good thing now. I lose at times, but the support is always there and that helps me give my best on the court the next time I head out. However, it’s not possible to win a medal every time and I hope people understand that. Winning and losing is a part of the game,” she said.
After playing the Premier Badminton League, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo is the bigger goal in mind for the world No. 6.
About her preparations, Sindhu said, “The qualifications are on now. The focus is to stay fit and give our 100 percent on the court. Qualifying and doing well at the Olympics is the ultimate aim for anyone right now. Everyone will be at their peak, but it all comes down to who does best on the day of the match. It’s not easy, but I’ll give it my best and hopefully bring back a medal for the country.”
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