Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, India’s badminton star who is the first shuttler from the country to bring home a silver medal from the Olympics, has become a household name after her remarkable feat during the 2016 Rio Games. The 21-year-old bagged silver after losing to World No 1 Carolina Marin 21-19, 12-21, 21-15 in the summit clash of the women’s singles competition at the Summer Olympics.
So, who is PV Sindhu — India’s face of Rio Olympics 2016! Here’s everything you need to know about her:
Born on July 5, 1995 to PV Ramana and P Vijaya, both former international volleyball players, PV Sindhu took to sports at a very early age. Sindhu’s father Ramana himself is an Arjuna Awardee and was part of the Indian team which won the bronze in 1986 Asian Games.
The sporty beginning
Though her parents were volleyball players, Sindhu chose badminton and started playing from the age of eight and drew inspiration from Pullela Gopichand’s victory in the All England Open Badminton Championship in 2001.
Sindhu first learnt the basics of the sport with the guidance of Mehboob Ali at the badminton courts of the Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications in Secunderabad and soon after she began training, Sindhu joined former Indian international Pullela Gopichand’s badminton academy in Hyderabad. She used to travel more than 50 kilometers every day to get to her training centre in Hyderabad.
Despite this, she was never late for training; a reflection of her willingness to fulfill her desire to be a good badminton player with the required hard work and commitment.
Sindhu’s performance in domestic arena
Sindhu received her first recognition in the form of the 5th Servo All India ranking championship for the under-10 category. She also won the singles title at the Ambuja Cement All India ranking. In the under-13 category, Sindhu won doubles titles at the IOC All India Ranking, Krishna Khaitan All India Tournament, the Sub-Junior Nationals and the All India Ranking in Pune. At the 51st National School Games in India, Sindhu won the gold medal in the under-14 category.
How she made an impact internationally
At the 2009 Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships held in Colombo, Sindhu won a bronze medal. The star player bagged silver in the women’s singles at Iran Fajr International Badminton Challenge in 2010. She found a place in the national team at the 2010 Uber Cup. Sindhu stood out at international level during 2012 where she stunned London Olympics gold-medalist Li Xuerui.
In 2014, she reached the semi-finals of Common Wealth Games in women’s single category. In 2015, Denmark Open, Sindhu reached to final of the Super Series event. Earlier that year, she won the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold women’s singles title.
Sindhu became the first-ever Indian women’s singles player to win a medal at the World Championships. In 2015, she received India’s fourth highest civilian honor, the Padma Shri.
She has now become the best-ever female performer in India’s Olympic history and has taken forward the legacy set by London Olympic bronze medal winning star shuttler Saina Nehwal.