Having claimed a bronze medal in the previous edition, India’s ace shuttler PV Sindhu will enter the 2018 Commonwealth Games as one of the favourites to stand on the podium yet again, but this time, with a gold medal. Expectations are high from all participating shuttlers, following their upward trajectory in the last 12 months. However, Sindhu is expected to at least get a silver medal back home.
Sindhu is one of those kids who took to sports at an early age. Any guesses? Her parents PV Ramana and P Vijaya are both former international volleyball players. Sindhu's father Ramana himself is an Arjuna Awardee and was part of the Indian team that won the bronze medal at the 1986 Asian Games.
At the age of eight, it was national coach Pullela Gopichand’s performance at the 2001 All England Championships that inspired her to choose the racquet over a volleyball. She first learnt the basics of badminton at the Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications in Secunderabad before joining Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad.
It was here that the Hyderabad shuttler started to churn out good results and often came home with several titles. What’s more interesting is the fact that despite staying far from the academy, Sindhu managed to travel more than 50 km daily to reach the Academy and hardly arrived late for training. It was her willingness to train hard that set her apart since the beginning of her career.
After making her mark on the domestic platform, Sindhu started to grab the eyeballs on the international circuit in 2009 with a bronze at the Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships. In 2010, the lanky shuttler reached the quarter-finals of the Junior World Badminton Championships and at the 2012 London Olympics, she reached the semi-finals.
Sindhu won her first Grand Prix Gold title in 2013 by winning Malaysian Open. Even the 2012 London Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui was surprised with Sindhu's attacking prowess and precision at the net. Slowly, Sindhu and Gopichand’s hard work paid dividends as she went on to claim the Macau Open a few months later and was awarded the Arjuna Award by the Government of India.
At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Sindhu defeated the likes of Tai Tzu Ying, Wang Yihan, Nozomi Okuhara before losing to Carolina Marin of Spain in the final of women's singles. Since then, the young shuttler took the circuit by storm, winning the 2016 China Open and reaching the Denmark Open final.
She continued her fine form in 2017, winning the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold, India Open and the Korea Open titles. There's more to it. Sindhu missed out on claiming the Hong Kong Open, Dubai World Superseries Finals, Senior Badminton National Championships and World Championships gold by a whisker. In November, Sindhu was placed second in the BWF Rankings.
The 22-year-old also missed out on defending the India Open title after losing a three-game thriller to USA's Beiwen Zhang in February. Despite the near-misses, Sindhu is one of the biggest names that will begin the quest for a medal from the Indian contingent at Gold Coast, and looking at her mature displays in recent matches, it would be foolish to write her off.
Click here to read profiles of other Indian athletes involved in the Commonwealth Games 2018
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Updated Date: Mar 17, 2018 12:04:15 IST