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Winning Grand Prix at 17 has given Sindhu strong base

Last updated on: May 14, 2013 10:10 IST

Winning Grand Prix at 17 has given Sindhu strong base

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One of Sindhu's strongest points, says B Dasarath Reddy, is that she reads the mind of her opponent and plays accordingly.

Make space for another star, Saina Nehwal. P V Sindhu has arrived. While most girls her age would have just left their Barbies behind, Sindhu has excelled herself as a senior with her maiden Grand Prix badminton title in Malaysia last Saturday.

Pullela Gopichand, the coach under whom Sindhu has trained right from the time she took up the shuttle sport in 2004, acknowledges the accomplishment she has made at an young age. "At 17, it is a big victory," he says. "To win a senior international Grand Prix at 17 is something which is really good. It is a good base for the future."

What has changed in the four months since the 5-feet 10-inch girl's defeat in the final of the Indian Open Grand Prix Gold in December 2012 to winning the title on May 4 in Malaysia is something that holds the key to her successful journey as badminton player.

"Since losing in the Indian Grand Prix, I worked on the mistakes I had made in that event and improved my performance through a lot of practice and hard work," Sindhu told Business Standard while explaining the factors that helped win the title.


Image: PV Sindhu


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Strong desire to win

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Gopichand says both Nehwal and Sindhu are strong physically and have power, speed and reflexes.

They also come with a strong desire to win. In case of Sindhu, sporting prowess is in her DNA. Her body, physique and frame are well suited for badminton.

Both her parents, Arjuna awardee PV Ramana and P Vijaya, were volleyball players. In addition, her upbringing and access to professional coaching by Gopichand in Hyderabad have made her what she is today.

By making it to top ten in world rankings at the age of 17, humbling big names, including a world No 1 and Olympic champion in the process, she has shown that she can be a world-class player.

She has also shown consistency in performance. No wonder her coach says, "She can go right up to the top. But having said that, she needs to work on her physical abilities and mental strength."

Image: PV Sindhu


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Love for individual sport

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Sindhu's father is not disappointed that his two daughters never followed their parents to the volleyball court.

"She used to say, why play a team sport? Her love for the individual sport was apparent at the very beginning," says Ramana.

Wisely, the parents allowed their daughters to follow their passion. Sindhu's elder sister, who played basketball and netball at the national level, is today a doctor in the US.

Sindhu works hard and never shies away from all the hours of practice required of top players. Within a week of the biggest achievement of her short career till date, Sindhu was back on the courts at the Gopichand Academy, sweating in training for the Suderman Cup to be held later this month in Kuala Lumpur. It is going to be her fourth international event in five months.


Image: PV Sindhu


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Reading the mind of the opponent

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The youngster leaves the decisions on which tournament to take part in and when to take a break to her coach. She says discipline and focus are very important to her. She is currently undergoing six to seven hours of practice a day along with 40 aspiring boys and girls who have already represented India in different international events.

According to sports analyst Mohammed Maqdoom Ahmed, who was present at the Malaysian Grand Prix, one of Sindhu's strongest points is that she reads the mind of her opponent and plays accordingly.

But she also needs to boost her mental strength, for often, when she loses a couple of points in a row, she tends to flag and needs external motivation in the middle of a match to be able to fight back.

"For me, talent is the more easily available stuff, while the heart to fight and the belief in oneself is what is more difficult to find," says Gopichand.

And he thinks that Sindhu has the ambition to win. That is why all Indians hope that she is a player for the world stage and her triumphs will be many.

Image: PV Sindhu


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