Indian badminton’s golden girl, PV Sindhu created history when she clinched the Bronze medal for India at the Tokyo Olympics. Sindhu defeated China’ He Bingjiao in the Bronze medal match to secure India’s third medal at the Summer Games.
Sindhu dominated Bingjiao throughout the game and won 21-13, 21-15 and by this result, she became India’s most decorated female athlete with two Olympic medals, she also became the second Indian to do so after wrestler Sushil Kumar.
The Indian shuttler battled a lot of emotions after losing to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying. But it was her coach Park Tae-sang who motivated her and pushed her to her limits and now she is reaping the rewards by clinching two medals at consecutive Olympics. Park has played a huge role in her career in the last year and a half and Sindhu has always pointed out the South Korean’s impact on her success.
“I am very happy. Winning a medal for the country is definitely a proud moment and that too back-to-back, in Rio 2016 and now in Tokyo. I have known Park for a very long time when he was with the Korean team. When he came to India, I started training with him. Initially, we needed some time to know about each other. But, we had that dream together to get that Olympic medal,” said Sindhu.
The duo suffered a lot due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Sindhu highlighted how Park was always there for her as a constant source of motivation. “We worked really hard and he (Park), especially has worked really hard,” Sindhu said. “A lot of people suffered due to the pandemic and he couldn’t go back home. It’s the hard work that he put in towards me, that is really great. It was his effort and his hard work and we finally got that medal.
“He never showed that he is nervous. As a coach, he needs to motivate the players that yes, you can do it. That was the support that he was giving me. We had eye-to-eye contact (during the matches in Tokyo), because we know as we practised together for a very long time. I know what he is saying, what needs to be done or what needs to change,” she continued.
Sindhu was devastated after losing the semifinals against Tai Tzu-ying as she had not even dropped a game in her journey to the semifinals. So to crash out from the race to win the Gold was heartbreaking for the 26-year-old shuttler. But that is where Park came in and helped her focus on the Bronze medal match that followed.
“Initially, after the semi was over, I was really sad. I was actually in tears. But, my coach and my physio told me that it’s not over yet, you have another chance. There were a lot of mixed emotions, as to whether I need to be happy as I got another chance or need to be sad as I lost in the semi-finals. But, my coach Park told me one thing I remember, where he said, there is a lot of difference between a bronze and a fourth position. I think that really hit me. I thought getting an Olympic medal for the country is a big, big thing,” Sindhu concluded.