‘ A few mistakes in the third set proved crucial’
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.