‘Producing champions a team effort’

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Champions are produced not by individuals but by a team, feels P.V. Sindhu. The team, according to her, includes parents, coaches, support staff and administrators, with each of them having a role to play.

In an online chat with the newly appointed Assistant Directors of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Monday, the World champion shared her remarkable journey: from learning the basics with coach Mehboob Ali at the IRISET Stadium to training under the watchful eyes of Dronacharya S.M. Arif at the Fateh and finally joining the Gopi Chand Academy in 2005 on the suggestion of the then coach Tom John and SAAP coach Govardhan Reddy.

Understanding the psyche

“I am not saying this [team effort] just because my parents had a sports background (P.V. Ramana and P. Vijaya had represented India in volleyball). Parents are the most important part of an athlete’s success as they understand the psyche of a child better than the others. I spend a lot of time with my father watching matches of myself and other players to analyse and plan my strategy against them,” said Sindhu.

The 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist also highlighted the “excellent support” she has been getting from SAI, the Badminton Association of India and Gopi Academy.

“Initially, the biggest challenge for me was travelling around 120km daily (to the Academy and back to her home in Secunderabad). My father taking a long leave from Railway service was important as he guided me on the areas of improvement,” she said.

On the relationship between an athlete and coach, Sindhu never questioned the coaches or trainers, and always followed instructions. She, however, felt that the “coaches should make sure the players give their best during training and matches.”

“There should be a continuity in coaches, but unfortunately, most of the seniors have left even before their contracts ended. This should be looked into carefully as it effects the performances of the players,” said the 24-year-old.

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