PV Sindhu’s silver medal at the 2016 Olympics was not an overnight success – it never is – but the culmination of hours and hours of hard work that she put in in training right from a very young age.
The two brightest pearls that Pusarla Venkata Sindhu has on her crown is her silver medal at the 2016 Olympics and the gold medal for women’s singles in BWF World Championships 2019.
Sindhu is the first Indian female badminton player to win an Olympic medal and the first Indian to come out victorious at the women’s singles in BWF World Championships.
Born in 1995 in Hyderabad, both of Sindhu’s parents P. V. Ramana and P. Vijaya were professional volleyball players, and the gene pool did get handed over to her well. Her father PV Ramana was even conferred with the Arjuna Award for his outstanding achievement in volleyball.
Sindhu learnt the basics of badminton from Mehboob Ali in Secunderabad. During her early days of practice, she had to travel for about 60 kms daily to reach her training centre. After training under Ali at Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications, she joined Pullela Gopichand’s team.
Under Gopichand’s guidance, she had to give up her most favourite dish, the Hyderabadi biryani and chocolates which she loved the most, but it was her passion for the game which kept fuelling her.
Sindhu first set foot in the international circuit at 14. She won a bronze at the 2009 Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships and changed its colour to silver at the 2010 Iran Fajr International Badminton Challenge. Sindhu made it to the quarterfinals of the 2010 BWF World Junior Championships in Mexico and won the Maldives International Challenge next year.
The journey just kept getting sweeter for the shuttler, and bigger and better things kept unveiling themselves from time to time. At just 18, she was conferred with the Arjuna Award. Her passion for the game was so intense that she decided to skip her sister’s marriage ceremony to attend the Grand Prix at Lucknow.
The sacrifices bore fruit and Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win a singles medal at the World Championships in 2013. She was conferred with the Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015. The Olympic silver and the BWF World Championships gold followed in due course.