India's badminton queen PV Sindhu has thrilled the world with her powerful smashes and awe-inspiring rallies. Her gameplay has left her opponents bewildered, out of breath, and at times flat on the court. Sindhu's presence on the court has inspired a teeming number of girls to pick up a racquet and enjoy the sport.
Sindhu has clinched medals of every color in almost all the premier badminton tournaments, won World Championships gold, and risen to number two ranking in the world. She also fulfilled her dream of achieving success at the Olympics with a silver medal in Rio. But now Sindhu is warming up to go a step further and become an Olympic champion.
Today one of India's greatest-ever sports personalities turns 26.
On her birthday, here is a look at five things you probably may not have known about Sindhu.
#1 PV Sindhu has been part of the second-longest women's singles match
The Indian superstar has been part of the second-longest women's singles match ever recorded in the history of badminton.
Sindhu put up a valiant effort before she eventually went down 21-19, 20-22, 22-20 to Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in the final of the 2017 World Championships. But her intense slugfest against Okuhara entered the record books as the match stretched to an eye-popping 110 minutes.
When it ended, it became the second-longest women's singles match. Had it lasted a minute longer, it would have become the longest women's singles match. The duel is also remembered for a 73-shot long rally that helped Sindhu clinch the second game and left Okuhara huffing and puffing on the court.
#2 Second female to win five or more medals at World Championships
PV Sindhu has stamped her authority at the World Championships. The lanky shuttler has clinched two bronze, two silver and one gold at the prestigious event.
Sindhu thus became only the second female shuttler to win five or more medals at the event. She is tied with Zhang Ning of China, who too has two bronze, two silver and one gold.
However, Sindhu has age by her side and could very well go past Zhang Ning and win her sixth medal at the Championships.
#3 India's highest-earning female athlete
According to Forbes' list of the highest-paid female athletes 2019, PV Sindhu was India's highest-earning female sports player with total earnings of $5.5 million. In the overall list of the top-15 highest-paid female athletes, Sindhu ranked 13th, tied with American tennis player Madison Keys. The list took into account prize money as well as earnings from endorsements.
"Sindhu remains India’s most marketable female athlete," Forbes said.
Sindhu remains the face of brands like Bridgestone, JBL, Gatorade, Nokia, Panasonic, Bank of Baroda, and many others.
#4 Brand ambassador for BWF's 'I am Badminton' campaign
In April last year, badminton's governing body, Badminton World Federation, announced PV Sindhu as one of the seven badminton players for the face of its 'I am Badminton' campaign.
The campaign provides players with a platform to express their love and respect for badminton by advocating clean and honest play. Sindhu believes that if the top players in the world can spread the message of playing the sport in a clean and honest manner, others would follow too.
"It is about you, you are playing the sport for yourself. You need to be happy about it. You have to be very clean. That is very important to me," Sindu spoke on being part of the campaign.
#5 Youngest Padma Shri awardee and India's youngest Olympic medalist
In 2015, PV Sindhu was honored with one of India's highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri. The award came on the back of a crucial and spectacular season that Sindhu had enjoyed the previous year.
In 2014, Sindhu had clinched bronze medals at three major events - the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the World Badminton Championships. The bronze medal at the Championships was special as it made Sindhu the first Indian to win back-to-back medals at the event.
Due to her stellar success, she received the Padma Shri award aged a mere 20, which made her India's youngest recipient of the prestigious award.
Sindhu also remains India's youngest individual Olympic medalist. Fourteen Indians have won individual medals at the Summer Games. But of those fourteen, PV Sindhu enjoys the distinction of being India's youngest medal winner. Sindhu scripted this record when at the age of 21 she won a silver medal in women's singles badminton at Rio Olympics 2016.