Tokyo: Indian shuttler PV Sindhu said on Monday that she went into the bronze medal match with the mindset of giving her best and playing hundred percent to her ability. She also said that her coach Park Tae-sang gave encouragement by explaining the importance of getting a medal.
On Sunday, the 26-year-old defeated China’ He Bingjiao in straight games to win the bronze medal in badminton women’s singles at the Tokyo Olympics. The win came a day after losing to Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the semi-finals.
With the bronze at Tokyo, Sindhu became the first Indian women to win medals in successive Olympics after winning the silver medal in 2016 edition at Rio. She became the first woman and second Indian overall to achieve the feat.
“After the semis were over, I was really sad. I was in tears. But my coach and physio said that it is not over yet and you have got another chance. There were a lot of mixed emotions because whether I needed to be happy as I got another chance or had to be sad because I lost in semi-finals. But Park said that there is a lot of difference between bronze and fourth position. That really hit me. I thought I really need to get a medal because getting a medal for the country and the Olympics is a big thing. I went with the mindset that I need to give my best and play my hundred percent. It was all in that state of mind,” said Sindhu during a virtual press conference organised by the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
She also said that after the win, she went totally blank and took time to realise what she had done on Sunday. “Until the last point, we had not decided — it will not be over even though I was leading because anything can happen. Each and every point is important. After that point was over, I was literally blank. I didn’t know what to do. My coach was literally like in tears. After five-six seconds, I shouted. I hugged him and said thank you to him because it was his effort also. All emotions came together at once.”
The reigning world champion described the move to train at the Gacchibowli Stadium in Hyderabad from February as the ‘best decision taken’ ahead of the Olympics. It worked wonders, especially in countering the drift in Tokyo.
“From the beginning, I think there was no controversy. Where you have the opportunity to play in a bigger stadium which is almost like the conditions of the Olympics, I think, ‘why not take that opportunity and play?’ So, that is why, we decided that I will play in the Gacchibowli Stadium from February. It really helped us because drift definitely played an important role. I have really learned a lot, especially when there is a lot of drift. The control needed is what I have learnt a lot in the past few months. That really helped in this tournament.”
Sindhu further added, “When we play in an international tournament, it (Gacchibowli) is almost like an international standard court. There is air conditioning, which is also needed. I feel that is the best decision we have taken. We have also been getting players from Suchitra Academy so that we get used to different players every single day.”
Park, the Korean coach, revealed how he kept Sindhu calm in pressure situations. “In important moments when she gets a point and the pressure is very high, the next shot or rally, it’s very easy to make mistakes. So in important moments I tell her to calm down,” he said.
At this moment, Sindhu reminded him of saying “aaram se” in Hindi. ‘Aaram se’ translates to ‘take it easy’. Park laughed out and said “Yes, aaram se. I know what aaram se means.”
Park expressed his happiness over Sindhu getting the bronze medal. “In my Olympic career as a player, I never got a medal. But I told myself, I can try next time and make Sindhu an Olympic gold medallist. But I think bronze is also a very big medal. I am really happy.”