Teen talent on right path

Teen talent on right path

Sindhu focussed on winning maiden National title

At first sight, the tall Pusarla Venkata Sindhu could be mistaken for a volleyball player. But watching her on a badminton court, essaying smashes and drop shots with ease, quickly convinces one that she is indeed in the right place. By winning three international titles last year, the teenager showed she belongs to the sport and the Andhra Pradesh lass is now poised to take 2012 by storm.

next in line: Andhra Pradesh’s PV Sindhu has her eyes trained on winning the National title for the first time. DH PHOTO/ KIshor Kumar bolar

Sindhu has been touted as the next big thing in Indian badminton and she has lived up to that billing till now with some fine performances abroad in 2011. The lanky 16-year-old brought home trophies from Maldives, Indonesia and Switzerland as she climbed from a world ranking of 200 in February to a creditable 30 at present. “I just played my natural game. I wasn’t worried about my opponents. I was very confident,” said Sindhu, speaking about her mantra for success after a training session at the KBA courts ahead of the Senior National championships.  

What is so special about Sindhu that makes her different from other Indian players? “Surely the height is an advantage but there is disadvantage also. I just train hard and hope for the best every time. I think all the Indian players are talented. The difference is that how you play tough points in a tough match. Indians are as talented as the Chinese and other foreign players. The Chinese are mentally strong and their fitness levels are much better than us,” said the 5’ 11’’ Sindhu, who also won the Commonwealth Youth Games crown at Isle of Man last year.

Being born in a family of sport-loving parents has helped Sindhu pursue a career in badminton. Her father PV Ramana, a member of the bronze-medal winning Indian volleyball team at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games and an Arjuna award winner, now works as a sports officer with the South Central Railways and mother P Vijaya, herself a National-level spiker, is employed with SCR as an office superintendent. “Yes, my parents totally supported my interest in badminton. That’s where I’m lucky,” said Sindhu.

Despite that, it wasn’t a smooth sailing for Sindhu, who picked up the game when she was just eight. “I used to travel by car 120km daily — 30 kms each way for two sessions — to Gachibowli for training when I was only 10 years old. For two years, I used to travel like that but now I am staying at the Gopichand Academy,” said Sindhu.

Sindhu’s next goal is to make a mark in the Super Series events. “I lost in the qualifiers of Super Series tournaments in Hong Kong, China, Korea and Malaysia. However, it was a good experience, a learning curve for me. I strongly believe experience counts and with maturity you will become a better player,” pointed out Sindhu.

Sindhu admits that there is plenty of scope for improvement in her game. “I am not thinking of Olympics or other big events now. My focus is on winning my maiden National title. I have my dreams of becoming the world number one though,” she signed off.

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