P. V. Sindhu - The First Indian Woman to Win an Olympic Silver Medal
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is an Indian ace badminton player born on 5th July 1995. She is probably the second most prominent modern day shuttler of India after Saina Nehwal. She has done her country proud in many tournaments and championships including the Rio Olympics, 2016. Sindhu has frequently featured in top 10 in the world badminton rankings.
She was born to former volleyball players P. V. Ramana and P. Vijaya. Ramana also won the Government of India-instituted 2000 Arjuna Award for his sport. PV Sindhu started playing badminton when she was 8. She drew inspiration from the success of her current coach, Pullela Gopichand at the 2001 All England Open Badminton Champion.
Sindhu first learned the basics of the sport with the guidance of Mehboob Ali at the badminton courts of Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications in Secunderabad. She then joined Pullela Gopichand's badminton academy, Hyderabad to further enhance her skills.
After joining Gopichand's badminton academy, Sindhu won several titles. In the under-10 years category, she won the 5th Servo All India ranking championship in the doubles category and the singles title at the Ambuja Cement All India ranking. In the under-13 years category, Sindhu won the singles title at the Sub-juniors in Pondicherry, doubles titles at the Krishna Khaitan All India Tournament, IOC All India Ranking, the Sub-Junior Nationals and the All India Ranking in Pune. She also won the under-14 team gold medal at the 51st National School Games in India.
Sindhu won a bronze medal at the 2009 Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships held in Colombo. She won the silver medal in the singles category at the 2010 Iran Fajr International Badminton Challenge. She then reached the quarterfinals of the 2010 Junior World Badminton Championships that was held in Mexico.
On 7 July 2012, she won Asia Youth Under 19 Championship. In the 2012 Li Ning China Masters Super Series tournament, she defeated London 2012 Olympics gold medallist Li Xuerui of China, and entered the semifinals. In December 2012, she finished runner-up in the Syed Modi India Grand Prix Gold event held in Lucknow. In 2013, She won Malaysian open title 2013, beating her opponent from Singapore Juan Gu by 21–17,17–21,21–19.
On 8 August 2013, she defeated the defending champion, second-seeded Wang Yihan of China, to enter the women's quarterfinals at the Badminton world championships. The 18-year-old, 10th-seeded Sindhu won 21–18, 23–21 in 54 minutes to set up a meeting with seventh-seeded Chinese player Wang Shixian. She beat Wang Shixian to become India's first medalist in women's singles at the World Championships.
She also won Macau Open Grand Prix Gold title by defeating Canada's Michelle Li on December 1, 2013. In 2014, PV Sindhu reached the semifinal stage of Glasgow Commonwealth Games in the women's singles competition and created history by becoming the first Indian to win two back-to-back medals in the World Badminton Championships. PV Sindhu also reached the semifinal of the World Cup in Denmark. The world number 11 from Hyderabad showed extraordinary skills and fighting spirit to defeat the second ranked Shixian Wang.
In October 2015, playing at the Denmark Open, Sindhu reached to her maiden final of a Super Series event. She defeated three seeded players, namely Tai Tzu-ying, Wang Yihan and Carolina Marin on her route to the final.
In November 2015, defending champion P. V. Sindhu won her third successive women’s singles title at the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold after defeating Japan’s Minatsu Mitani in the final by 21-9, 21-23, 21-14.
In January 2016, Sindhu again won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold women’s singles title (after winning it in 2013) by beating Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour in the final.
Rio Olympics, 2016
At the Rio Olympics, 2016, PV Sindhu beat Nozomi Okuhara of Japan to Set Up Rio 2016 Badminton Final Vs Carolina Marin. Playing her first Olympics, Sindhu beat three higher-ranked opponents en route a final berth - 8th ranked Tai Tzu-Ying of Taipei in the Round of 16, World No 2 Wang Yihan 2-0 in the quarters and now, the 6th ranked Okuhara in semis. What's even more interesting is that all these matches were won in straight games. Unfortunately in the final, even after putting up a valiant fight, she had to settle for silver after losing 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 to Marin. However, she has become the first Indian badminton player to win a silver at the Olympics and also the youngest to win a medal at the Olympics at the age of 21.
Indian Badminton League
In the 2013 Indian Badminton League, Sindhu was the captain of the team Awadhe Warriors. Her team qualified for the semifinal, where they beat Mumbai Marathas, but was lost in the final to Hyderabad HotShots. In the 2016 Premier Badminton league, she was the captain of Chennai Smashers team. In the group league, she won all of the five matches to help her team qualify for the semifinal.
Honors and Achievements
She was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2013. In 2014, she got the FICCI Breakthrough Sportsperson and also the NDTV Indian of the Year. She has also received Padma Shri in 2015, which is the fourth highest civilian award of India.
She is completely dedicated and committed to the sport. Her coach Gopichand's famous comment on her "The most striking feature in Sindhu's game is her attitude and the never-say-die spirit."
Arjuna, CNN IBN