HYDERABAD: Bubbly, enthusiastic, oodles of talent and an unquenchable thirst for success — these qualities define PV Sindhu, the new national badminton champion. Aged just 16, the girl from East Marredpally is nowadays referred to as another Saina in the making and not without a reason.
“It will be an interesting battle when Saina and Sindhu challenge the Chinese in world badminton,” predicts chief coach Pullela Gopichand under whose guidance the budding star is honing her skills.
Being an inmate at the Pullela Gopichand Academy, Sindhu is going all-out to burst onto the international scene as a force to reckon with.
“I do miss my friends but I don’t mind because I am in love with the game,” says the teenager whose ascent has been steady ever since she made her mark a couple of years ago in the Under-19 tournament.
Evidently, she loves a challenge.
“I enjoy playing against senior players.
I think it makes me a better player,” muses Sindhu on whom the influence of Saina is tremendous.
“I like the way she prepares.
She plays a lot of rallies in the session and she is very aggressive on the court,” she adds.
The young player, however, makes light of comparisions between her and Saina.
“There is some pressure when people say I’m the next Saina Nehwal,” she admits but hastens to add that it only motivates her.
For a 16-year-old, her determination is remarkable.
The daughter of PV Ramana and Vijaya, both volleyball players, Sindhu had started early at the age of eight itself.
Though her parents are volleyball players — her father had played in the 1984 Seoul Asian Games — she took to badminton just for fun.
“I used to play for fun.
After that my interest grew and my dad didn’t force me to play volleyball either.
There was a badminton court beside the volleyball court that my dad used to play and I slowly started playing there,” recalls Sindhu.
Sensing her potential, Ramana took his daughter to the late Mehboob Ali at Iriset Court.
“I trained under him for two years before shifting to the Lal Bahadur Shastri Indoor Stadium where I trained under (Syed Mohammad) Arif, Govardhan and Gopichand,” she explains.
When Gopichand moved over to Gachibowli, the former All England champion persuaded Ramana to join his daughter there.
“It was one of the difficult decisions we made.
We had to travel 60 km daily for a practice session.
It was a daily routine...
to go in the morning at 4.30 and return home in time for school,” recalls Ramana.
“I used to study on Sundays and my mother and sister would help me out,” chips in Sindhu.
Now, though, she is into badminton full-time