It was a complete effort with a lot of sacrifices by everyone involved in the journey in the last five years in search of the Tokyo Olympic medal, said P.V. Sindhu, who bagged a bronze in Tokyo Olympics - her second Olympics medal after the 2016 Rio Games silver.
“I am grateful to every team member who made me realise the dream of another Olympic medal. No doubt, the target was gold. But, getting a bronze is also a special feeling for me given the backdrop of how the pandemic disrupted the whole world, especially our tournaments schedule,” Sindhu informed the media at her residence on Wednesday.
“I must thank my coach (Park Tae Sang, who was with her at the briefing) for the kind of sacrifices he has made by missing his family almost for one full year since he joined me,” she said.
“It is a dream come true for all of us including the sparring partners from Suchitra Academy, the two gentlemen Praveen Raju and Pradeep Raju from that Academy, fitness trainer Srikanth Verma and physio Evangeline,” Sindhu said.
“Well, when Srikanth says that I could withstand the training load without any complaints, I must remind myself that unless we put in that kind of effort we cannot be in this position (with an Olympic medal). And, this is just the beginning and there are many more laurels to come in the run-up to the Paris Olympics,” she explained.
“It has been a tough one year in the run-up to the Olympics. And this bronze medal would not have been possible but for so much planning and effort,” she said.
“Well, if I keep playing well and winning tournaments, then the World No. 1 can also be a certainty. The preparations for Paris Olympics will be on after a short break as the ultimate goal is to win the gold there,” a smiling Sindhu said. "I will continue to train at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium," she added.
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“I am fortunate to have such parents (P.V. Ramana and P. Vijaya) who both being sportspersons themselves knew the demands and challenges better and ensured that I got everything I wanted. Having gone through the rough and tumble themselves during their playing days, they understand my needs better,” she said.
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Korean coach Park said Sindhu’s bronze was the most unforgettable moment of his life. “This being my first Olympic medal as a coach, I cherish every bit of it. Come on, Sindhu let us start training from tomorrow to get the gold in Paris,” he said.
“The pandemic proved to be very tough for athletes too. We were patient right through and worked hard,” Park said.
Sindhu’s fitness trainer at Suchitra Academy, Srikanth, said the fitness training programme for the shuttler was a torture and any other athlete would have given up, especially in May this year.
“But within three days of her joining the Suchitra Academy, I realised Sindhu was capable of taking any load, and she responded in style. I can vouch that not many athletes can be like her,” he said.
Telangana Sports Minister V. Srinivas Goud, SATS chairman A. Venkateshwar Reddy, Srinivas Raju, VC & MD of Sports Authority of Telangana State, were among those present to receive the star performer at the airport.