By Aakash Kumar
Days after giving a mini “heart-attack” to her fans, ace Indian shuttler PV Sindhu says she is totally fit, not just health-wise but also on the badminton court, and is looking forward to competing in the upcoming tournaments.
In an exclusive interview with IANS, Sindhu opened up on how she coped up with the Covid-19 induced lockdown, her reaction to the Tokyo Olympics postponement, her preparation for the upcoming Asia Cup, and also her relationship with national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand.
“It was quite difficult to suddenly stop a very active routine. But at the same time we all realised how important it was to pause everything and take care of ourselves,” Sindhu said about the nationwide-lockdown which was first put in place towards March end following the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“I tried to keep myself active by working out at home and that really helped me. I also spent a lot of time with my family and picked up some hobbies like painting,” she added.
However, even during the lockdown, Sindhu stayed active in order to make sure she stayed as fit as possible. “I was not able to play on court, hence it was a bit hard when I started playing. But I think I am now fit on court as well and ready to go.”
The Tokyo Olympics, which were slated to be held in July-August this year, had to be postponed to summer of 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sindhu, however, revealed that she was prepared for the postponement considering the situation and was thus not surprised by the development.
“With everything that has been happening around the world, it was quite evident that Tokyo Games were going to be postponed and I had already started to prepare mentally.”
The ace shuttler further said that the break has not broken her rhythm in her quest for the elusive Olympic gold.
“I have been preparing myself mentally and physically to compete in 2021. We are not too far away and this is a worldwide scenario, hence every athlete is going through the same and we will all have to adapt, train, and give our best in Tokyo,” Sindhu said.
In September, the reigning world champion had pulled out of Denmark Open. After that, she had agreed to play in the Uber Cup, which was eventually postponed. Now, the next tournament in which she would be competing is the Asian leg of the BWF World Tour.
“I am really looking forward to the tournaments in Asia. I will be back on the court after a long time. The training has been going well and this break has also helped me learn and improve as an athlete. I am taking a lot of positive out of this break and using this time to work on things I have not had the time for due to the hectic schedule,” Sindhu said as she remains upbeat to once again to rule the court.
Recently, there was a report which claimed that Sindhu had a rift with Gopichand and that she was not happy with the training facilities for the national camp. However, Sindhu rejects that allegation.
“Gopi sir is my coach and he has helped me immensely. I do not have issues with him and I have kept him informed about my decision to train in England due to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) analysis,” said Sindhu.
In order to work on her nutrition and recovery, Sindhu is currently in England and working with Rebecca Randell at the GSSI.
“I have been working with GSSI for the past four years and this is a long process. We have been working on many aspects such as nutrition and recovery and this has been helping me immensely,” she said.
Sindhu, recently, gave a ‘mini heart attack’ to sports fraternity with a social media post where she said: “I RETIRE”. In a lengthy post on her official Twitter handle, Sindhu had said that the Denmark Open was the final straw and she has decided to bid adieu to the game.
Elaborating on her post, the 26-year-old said: “Well, to be honest, the whole line read as I retire from the negativity, uncertainty caused by Covid-19. It was completely focused on bringing everyone’s attention to what we are dealing with currently and how we can try our best to move forward.”
“All the negativity, the influx of information and news had me troubled which is why I wanted to share my thoughts with everyone. The open letter for me was a way to articulate my concerns and fears,” she added.
The Rio Olympic silver medallist also spoke about her rivalry with Nozomi Okuhara and Carolina Marin, saying that all three of them bring out the best out of each other whenever they play on the court.
“Well I have enjoyed great rivalry on court but we are friends off court. That is the beauty of sport and sportsmanship. I truly enjoy a competitive match and usually that happens with both of them. We push our limits and bring out our best,” said Sindhu.
The ace shuttler has also associated with Hindustan Unilever which has come up hygiene product such as Nature Protect to provide an added layer to people as restrictions ease out amid the pandemic. “It has been months at home and we still question ourselves every time we step out, which is why I felt that we needed a better and more holistic hygiene solution that catered to our current needs,” Sindhu said.