Name: PV Sindhu
Discipline (sport): Badminton
Qualification: Finishing within top-16 among women's singles players in the Badminton Asia Championships 2016, the last qualifying tournament for the Games.
Strengths: Her height, which is nearly six feet, is one of her biggest strengths, a trait that is desired by many a badminton player.
Past Olympic performance: Debut
Past record (best performances):
— Gold medal in Girl's singles at 2012 Asian Junior Championships and 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.
— Silver medals in Women's Singles in 2016 South Asian Games.
— Bronze in Women's Singles in 2014 Commonwealth Games, in Women's team in 2014 Asian Games.
Rio prospects: While the upcoming Olympic games will be the first such event for Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, her qualification has helped India achieve the unique distinction of sending two ladies singles badminton players for the first time ever.
Thanks to Sindhu’s hard work and consistency in recent months, she will give top-seeded Indian female shuttler Saina Nehwal some company in Rio 2016, as India sends its largest-ever contingent in the sport, boosting its medal hopes.
Born to a family of sportspeople, with her parents being former volleyball players, young Sindhu received the inspiration that she needed to take big strides in the sport.
One of Sindhu’s earliest distinctions was winning the senior national title in January 2012, which made her the only player since Prakash Padukone to hold both the senior and junior titles at the same time.
The path for Sindhu since then has been that of progress, as the Hyderabad native went on to become the first-ever Indian woman to win a medal in the World Championships in Guangzhou, repeating the feat in the following year at Copenhagen.
The year 2014 was a glorious one for Sindhu, as she clinched multiple bronze medals across events such as the Uber Cup, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. The year ended on a high as she won the Ladies Singles title in that year’s Macau Open.
Pullela Gopichand, former Indian badminton star and her coach at present, credited her ability to work for long hours as one of the main reasons behind her rise.
“She is a workhorse. She can work for long hours and pick up fast. It makes her a great learner,” Gopichand was quoted as saying in an article on Forbes India.
For Sindhu, whose best performance this year has been winning the Malaysia Masters in January earlier this year, has credited fellow Rio-bound shuttler and world No 8 Nehwal for being an inspirational figure, though she certainly relishes the thought of a face-off against her for the gold medal in the upcoming Olympiad.
“I haven't spoken to her about this Olympics or the last Olympics. But then she has been winning medals and laurels for the country.
“In her game, she has that fighting spirit and I think that's one point to learn from her. She has that fighting spirit always,” Sindhu was quoted as saying according to a report on The Times of India.