PV Sindhu stormed into the record books when she became the first Indian badminton player to win two Olympic medals. After a silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, PV Sindhu won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
PV Sindhu was unstoppable until she ran into Tai Tzu-ying in the semifinals. The apple-cart was upset but PV Sindhu and coach Park Tae-Sang had to move on. The business was unfinished.
The Indian badminton star got a second chance to have a go at an Olympic medal. That chance meant a lot and it had to be utilized and PV Sindhu was back on the court, shrugging off the disappointment. She was back to her old self – dominating over opponents in style.
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The rare blip in PV Sindhu’s game came at the wrong moment but it soon drowned under the euphoria of becoming the second sportsperson from the country to win consecutive medals at the Olympics.
The star shuttler, in a virtual interaction organized by the Badminton Association of India (BAI) said it was difficult to digest the semi-final loss and credited coach Park Tae-Sang’s timely motivation which helped her get back on her feet. PV Sindhu said:
“I was sad and we were almost in tears (after the loss to Tai Tzu-ying), but my coach and physio told me not that it is not over yet. They said I had another chance (for a medal). There were a lot of mixed emotions and what motivated me was that when Park made me realize that there is a lot of difference between a bronze medal and a fourth-place finish. I wanted to give my best and win the medal.”
Park's vital contribution in PV Sindhu's win
Park Tae-Sang also hogged the limelight with his celebrations and more importantly in his coaching methods. PV Sindhu credited Park for the amount of work they had put in. It was there to see for all as Park and PV Sindhu spoke through eye contact and animated mid-game break discussions. Sindhu explained:
“We did have a lot of eye-to-eye contact, and we knew what needed to be done, or what needed to be changed. We have practiced a lot to understand the instructions very clearly. I knew what I had to do with my next shot, with his eye contact.”
“I also had to tell her to calm down after every rally, because, after playing a huge rally, she has this adrenaline rush and sometimes loses an easy point and the next rally. So, I always had to tell her to keep it calm and cool.”
The South Korea-born coach said it was the first time a player under his tutelage was winning a medal. He said:
“It is my first time my player has won a medal in my coaching career. When I first came to coach Sindhu, she was already a big star in India and there was a lot of pressure on me. I never won an Olympic medal and I wanted Sindhu to win one. And, I'm happy today.”
Apart from making waves on the court, PV Sindhu also hogged the limelight with her friendly gestures off the court. Even in Rio de Janeiro, when Sindhu lost to Carolina Marin, she walked up to the Spaniard, hugged her and put her racquet back in her bag.
On Sunday, minutes after Tai Tzu-ying lost the final to China's Chen Yufei, PV Sindhu walked up to her and comforted her with a hug. Although Tai Tzu-ying had beaten PV a day earlier, it didn't stop PV Sindhu from showing her love and appreciation for the shuttler. Sindhu explained:
“You know, at the end of the day, badminton is a sport. And yes, when you play sports, you don't have mercy on the court. But, when the game is over, you just come back to normal friendship. It just takes a couple of seconds, a couple of minutes to just say hard luck, or you played well or just communicate or talk."
"I think that kind of relationship between the athletes is very important. I mean, you know how it feels when you lose and when you see someone lose, you can understand how much it hurts. So, I just said that that it is okay and it is just not your day and enjoy the moment.”
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