‘ A few mis­takes in the third set proved cru­cial’

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Chan­der Shekhar Luthra shekhar. luthra@ dnain­dia. net

Rio de Janeiro: An In­dian woman has fi­nally won a sil­ver medal at the Olympics. While a bil­lion peo­ple back home burst into spon­ta­neous cel­e­bra­tions, all she wanted to do was binge on junk food, catch the lat­est movie and talk to her near and dear ones on phone.

Emerg­ing from the shadow of her equally cel­e­brated com­pa­triot, Saina Ne­hwal, the 21- year- old PV Sindhu is In­dia’s new heart- throb, the toast of a grate­ful na­tion af­ter forg­ing new path­ways for girls back home.

Sindhu is now pur­su­ing an MBA de­gree from St. Ann’s Col­lege in Me­hdi­pat­nam, Hy­der­abad. Ex­cerpts:

How does it feel af­ter win­ning sil­ver in your very first Olympic out­ing? I’m really happy. The feel­ing is in­de­scrib­able! No words can ad­e­quately de­scribe what it feels to win an Olympic sil­ver in your first at­tempt. My aim was to win a gold, but never mind, it was a good game and Carolina ( Marin) played ex­tremely well. In a match, one should win and one should lose. So it was her day on Fri­day. Over­all, this was a won­der­ful week for me as I played some really good matches against some of the top play­ers in the world.

Af­ter win­ning the first game, you only won two points in your ser­vice. Did that cause con­cern? I don’t think that should mat­ter be­cause Carolina was play­ing so well in the sec­ond. I made some mis­takes and con­ceded a huge lead. I cov­ered it up a few times, but again let her gain a big lead. In the sec­ond game, I was just like “let’s play”, but even then I didn’t leave it like that and put in a lot of ef­fort.

You were al­most match­ing her in the third one... Af­ter she started off well, I did well to catch up with her at 10- all. It was then I be­lieve I made 2- 3 mis­takes: to let her off the hook which proved cru­cial ul­ti­mately.

Was con­ced­ing early points in all three games that made the dif­fer­ence in the end? May be in the fi­nal game it mat­tered. I gave her that ex­tra start. But then, she was also not leav­ing any shut­tle. She was go­ing for ev­ery­thing. I was play­ing with ag­gres­sion. We both wanted to win and we fought hard till the end. It was any­body’s game and she won.

Carolina ( Marin) said that she was chang­ing shut­tles fre­quently to ir­ri­tate you? It’s part of the game. I knew that she would do that and I only com­plained to the chair um­pire that ‘ she has not been ask­ing me be­fore chang­ing shut­tles in be­tween’. Ups and downs are al­ways go­ing to hap­pen in any match.

When did you feel that the match was out of your hands? I never gave up till the very end. I came back from 16- 19 to win five straight points to win the first game. So, it was al­ways play­ing in my mind that any­thing could still hap­pen.

You must have made many sac­ri­fices to reach this far? No doubt, one has to make sac­ri­fices to see this day. But I am very thank­ful to my coach and my par­ents for be­ing al­ways there for me.

We hear that you used your phone only to talk to your par­ents for a lim­ited time so that you could fo­cus on the game here? Did you miss that? For the last three months, I had no ac­cess to the phone or In­ter­net. I fi­nally got my phone back from the coach af­ter reach­ing the Games Vil­lage on Fri­day. Now I am plan­ning to wake up every­one back home from their sleep, or may be they are awake af­ter watch­ing this game, and talk to them for long. I do not think it is a sac­ri­fice be­cause bad­minton is more im­por­tant to me than the In­ter­net, and I chose what I love best.

What really changed af­ter the Aus­tralian Open where you lost in the first round ( first week of June)? For the last one- and- a- half month, we didn’t have any tour­na­ment. We were just work­ing on our game. We made many sac­ri­fices be­cause get­ting an Olympic medal is def­i­nitely ev­ery player’s aim. My aim was also the same. I got a tough draw here but then I had be­lief in my­self. Gopi sir had faith in me. He told me to just take one match at a time and not look at oth­ers. We kept work­ing hard, no mat­ter what the re­sult would be. At what point did you feel that you had a chance to win a medal? I was not think­ing about the medal from the be­gin­ning. Look­ing at the tough draw, I knew I had to think about one match at a time and that’s what I did from the first match against Michelle ( Canada) till the fi­nal with Carolina.

Have you been around the city, to the beaches, like the fa­mous Copaca­bana here? No, be­cause I was busy play­ing. May be now I will get a chance to go sight­see­ing.

How do you re­lax and un­wind af­ter a gru­elling day like this? If I have an off day, I like to watch a movie, go shop­ping or even chill out with my cousin sis­ter. I am cer­tainly look­ing for­ward to do­ing all this, once I reach home. I want to cel­e­brate this medal with my fam­ily.

Who is your favourite ac­tor? Hmmm... Ran­bir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan ( Laughs).

Do you listen to any mo­ti­va­tional song to pep you up? Not really. I love mu­sic. I listen to all kinds of mu­sic, de­pend­ing on my mood.

BMC sweep­ers stage protest at Azad Maidan

Around 400 sweep­ers work­ing at var­i­ous civic body- run of­fices staged a protest against the BMC on Fri­day. The pro­test­ers op­posed the move of the cor­po­ra­tion to in­stall au­to­mated sweep­ing ma­chines. They have also de­manded a salary raise and a health cov­er­age plan.


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