Reigning national champion PV Sindhu demolished a spirited attack from friend and academy-mate Arundhati Pantawane in the semifinal of the Senior National Badminton Championship in Srinagar. She had her share of anxious moments initially in the match, and found support from her father — former national-level volleyball player PV Ramana — who sat in the coach’s seat.
Egged on by her father, who also kept giving her tips in between games, Sindhu overcame a shaky start to win 8-21, 21-18, 21-13.
“He didn’t talk to me about anything too technical. He just told me not to make errors and focus on my strengths,” Sindhu said after the match, which was witnessed by her uncle and a cousin apart from her parents.Support from kin
Family support is indeed very important for the 17-year-old, who became the first shuttler after legendary Prakash Padukone to win both the senior and junior national titles this year. Her family recently shifted nearer to Gachibowli in Hyderabad, so that Sindhu could stay at home instead of in the academy. Her mother is a happy woman now, as she gets to see her daily on the dinning table.
“After staying in the academy for almost four years, it was initially a little different (staying at home). But I have now adjusted,” said Sindhu.
The move has also helped Sindhu with her studies as she is currently in B. Com first year, and unlike many sportspersons, intends to clear it in the first attempt. “I feel that a good educational base is also important.”
She recently broke into the world top-20 and also beat Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the China Masters last month.
The next big star
Does being labelled the ‘next big thing’ in Indian badminton put any pressure on her? “It’s part of life now,” she adds with a shrug. She faces former national champion Sayali Gokhale in the final.
In men’s singles, Ajay Jayaram and London Olympic Games quarterfinalist P Kashyap will face each other in the title clash. K Nanda Gopal lost to Jayaram 14-21, 15-21, while his brother K Srikanth was overpowered by Kashyap 5-21, 8-21.