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Euphoria in Hyderabad

Euphoria in Hyderabad
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Highlights

There was never any doubt about the phenomenal talent that P V Sindhu possesses. Her performances, particularly over the past two years, have been breathtakingly towering. Standing two inches short of six feet, the lanky Sindhu has used her height to great advantage, which also helped her dismantle the dreaded Chinese wall with consistent alacrity. Minutes after she achieved a feat that no Indian woman shuttler has ever done, her parents back home were flooded with congratulatory phone calls late Friday evening.

There was never any doubt about the phenomenal talent that P V Sindhu possesses. Her performances, particularly over the past two years, have been breathtakingly towering. Standing two inches short of six feet, the lanky Sindhu has used her height to great advantage, which also helped her dismantle the dreaded Chinese wall with consistent alacrity. Minutes after she achieved a feat that no Indian woman shuttler has ever done, her parents back home were flooded with congratulatory phone calls late Friday evening.

The 21-18, 21-17 win over former World No 1 Shixian Wang implied that she has scalped formidable Chinese players in back-to-back matches. By reaching the semifinals of the ongoing World Badminton Championships at Guangzhou and being assured of a bronze, the 18-year-old from Hyderabad joins the rare Indian band of Prakash Padukone (Copenhagen 1983) and the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa (London 2011) as the only ones to win a medal (bronze) in the coveted event.

Any further progress would be the fillip that Indian badminton needs at this critical juncture, particularly considering the fact that Saina Nehwal has been on the downhill since the epoch-making London Olympics. It also comes as the only silver lining as her win more than compensates for the quarterfinal losses of Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap. Sindhu, ranked tenth in the world, comes with a rich progeny. Her parents, P V Ramana and P Vijaya, have been international spikers with the father getting crowned with the Arjuna for lifetime contribution to volleyball.

National chief coach Pullela Gopichand expressed satisfaction after P V Sindhu's superb show. "It is good to have a win after two losses. She (Sindhu) is a good player but she can improve further. She is a quick learner and I hope she will do well in next match," Gopichand said.

"It was a tough match. It went neck and neck and there wasn't much to choose. There was not more than 2-3 points of difference. Sindhu was leading all the time. But it was just by a slender margin. The rallies was pretty long and Sindhu was able to attack when needed. So overall it was a good show," analysed Gopichand.

In her first reaction, Vijaya said that this would be a momentous day in their life because ‘Sindhu had dedicated herself to the sport. A willing learner, she made it a point to be at the Pullela Gopichand Academy by 4am. As the daily journey from Marredpally was too strenuous we put her in the Academy. She would visit the house only for the weekend. Now even we have shifted nearer to the Academy in Gachibowli’

Ramana, a sport officer with South Central Railway, said he is celebrating the ‘historic’ feat with the trainees and administrative staff of the Academy. ‘I wish to dedicate this medal to Gopichand who has been the inspiration to my younger daughter. In a way, it was way back when she was an eight-year-old that she shocked me and my wife when she announced that she wished to become a badminton player. Actually she had just seen Gopichand come out of a practice session and was immediately drawn to the courts,’ recalled Ramana, his face beaming with joy.

Meanwhile, Jwala Gutta praised Sindhu saying, she deserved the win. ‘She has a good natural game, covers the court to admirable levels and her menacingly aggressive stroke-play catches the opponents, particularly the Chinese and Indonesians, across the net off-guard, time and again,’ was how Jwala viewed the latest badminton sensation.

Meanwhile, Vijaya said that the best thing about Sindhu was that ‘she always relishes watching a movie. We encourage this sort of chilling out because we have found that this was her stress-buster. We are praying for greater glory tomorrow.’
The scene at the Academy was one of joyous euphoria, despite the stunning exit of Saina. Coach Maqdoom said that this ‘is certainly the best Ramzan gift for all of us.’

BAI lauds

New Delhi (PTI): The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Friday congratulated P V Sindhu for becoming the first Indian woman singles player to ensure a medal at the ongoing World Badminton Championship.

"I congratulate Sindhu on reaching the semifinals and ensuring a medal. But she has the capability to go all the way in the tournament and I wish her all the luck in her endeavour," BAI President Akhilesh Das Gupta said.

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