Paris Olympics: I will have to be smarter in my approach, says PV Sindhu
Back from a knee injury and poor form, former world No.1 resumes her build-up at Asia team championships
The build-up to the Paris Olympics has been far from ideal so far for PV Sindhu, India’s double Olympic medallist badminton ace. A double whammy of injuries and dip in form had put a spanner in the works for the former world No.1, but she is in no mood to give up on her dream to ‘change the colour of the medal’ after a silver and bronze in Rio and Tokyo, respectively.
Come next week, Sindhu will be back from another injury on left knee to resume her search for peak form at the badminton Asia team championships in Malaysia from 13-18 February. While admitting that Paris will be more challenging than the previous two Games, the 28-year-old feels she needs to be ‘smarter’ with all the experience at her disposal.
If Sindhu manages to add a third podium finish, she will be the first Indian athlete to do so at the showpiece. She and wrestler Sushil Kumar are the only two Indian sportspersons to have landed two individual medals on the big stage.
‘’In women's circuit, players in the top 10-15 are tough. It is important to be focused and have a strategy so that you can switch to plan B if plan A doesn’t work. It is important to stay calm as sometimes you can go blank. It is important to have a strong mindset,’’ she said during a media interaction in Mumbai.
‘’I would say this Olympics is going to be a different experience because the 2016 and 2020 Olympics were very different. Paris will be more challenging but at the same time, I have much more experience and I will have to be much smarter this time,’’ she observed.
Sindhu’s ordeal started when during a successful 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign in Birmingham, she suffered a stress fracture on her left ankle. Coming back from the setback in early 2023, her confidence deserted her as Sindhu began crashing out early from a series of tournaments and slipped below the top 10 BWF rankings.
Desperate to find her mojo back after a series of low results, Sindhu parted ways with Korean coach Park Tae-sang early last year. She trained with Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Vidhi Chaudhary and former All-England champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim in July, but success continued to elude her.
It was at this stage that former All England Champion Prakash Padukone reached out to her and soon she shifted her base to Bangalore – where she is training under Indonesia’s Agus Santoso at Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA), located at the Padukone–Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence.
‘’I am very fortunate to work with Prakash sir because he is such a legend and him being a mentor helps. His training methods and ideas are helping me. As for Agus, I knew him for a long time when he was training our men’s players.
‘’We will have to see how I do, it has been just a month. So things will be good moving forward. I am back to my full fitness and I am looking forward to Asia team championships,’’ Sindhu added.