Then and now: Sindhu keeps soaring higher

P.V. Sindhu could not savour fully her first triumph in a junior National tournament, for Saili conceded the final 12-21,6-15 owing to an injury.

A 2010 file photo of P.V. Sindhu competing in an all-India senior ranking badminton tournament.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The 2010 junior National badminton championships were under way at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy international indoor stadium at Yanam, the Andhra pocket of Puducherry. One 16-year-old not only stood out, taller than any girl in that facility, but was outstanding in the singles final against Saili Rane of Air India.

P.V. Sindhu could not savour fully her first triumph in a junior National tournament, for Saili conceded the final 12-21,6-15 owing to an injury. In what was perhaps her second interview to a national TV channel, Sindhu admitted to Doordarshan’s Sudheer Mahavadi that she would have been happier if it had been a full game.

Not much before, the seasoned sportscaster had interviewed Sindhu after she scaled the pinnacle in the sub-junior Nationals at Nellore. Incidentally her final opponent in that competition was compatriot Sikki Reddy, who had also given up the contest due to injury.

Sudheer then asked her what the Yanam achievement would do for her confidence. Thanking the crowd for its steadfast support, Sindhu said, “It will encourage me to do even better in the coming tournaments.” That reply proved to be more prophetic than a mere boast.

Over the years, the toothy smile would turn a trademark, revealing a calm assurance that has accompanied a steady rise in her career graph. Lesser sportspersons may have slackened after those two titles came in a little easily but not the Hyderabad lass, who used them as a springboard to soar even higher.