After Saina Nehwal, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu is the next rising women's badminton star from Hyderabad. She has proved that so far, and on Friday (August 9), created history by booking a spot in the World Championships semi-finals, which assures her of a medal. Sindhu is the first Indian women's singles player to win a medal at World Championships and overall fourth.
Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a medal (bronze) at Worlds in 1983 at Copenhagen. In 2011 (London), Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had clinched doubles bronze.
At Guangzhou, in successive days, Sindhu conquered two Chinese players - first the defending champion Wang Yihan (London Olympics silver medallist) in pre-quarter-finals and then former World No. 1 Shixian Wang in last-eight meeting at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium.
This will be 18-year-old Sindhu's second major international achievement this year. In May, she had won the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was her first "major title". In the final in Kuala Lumpur, Sindhu beat Japan's Juan Gu 21-17, 17-21, 21-19.
"Definitely, after I won the Asian under-19 singles title, I had not really won a major title. In that backdrop, this is a significant win for me. I should only keep improving my performances," Sindhu had told "The Hindu" after winning in Malaysia.
In September, 2012, Sindhu stunned current Olympic champion and World No.1 Li Xuerui of China in the China Masters Super Series quarter-finals.
Hyderabad girl Sindhu trains under Pullela Gopichand at his Academy. She comes from volleyball background. Her parents PV Ramana and P Vijaya both played volleyball. Sindhu, who lived in Secunderabad, travelled 40 kms everyday to train at Gopichand's Academy in Hyderabad. Her hard work and dedication is getting her the results.
Sindhu's father Ramana is a former international volleyball player and an Arjun Awardee.
At 5 feet and 11 inches, Sindhu is on her way to stand tall in the sport which she took up inspired by Gopichand.
In September, 2012, Sindhu, for the first time reached career best ranking of 20. She made a good progress from there to be the World No. 11 in June this year. Currently, she is ranked 12 in the world.
For the ongoing World Championships, Sindhu's coach Gopichand developed unorthodox system of fitness with physical trainer Christopher Paul. Sindhu trained at the academy at 4.15 AM according to a report in "The Times of India."
"We realised that we needed to work on her lower body strength and some personal muscles that were not developed. I worked on the area between her neck and shoulder. I concentrate on strength and vice versa. I don't go by the book and some of my methods are unorthodox," Paul told the newspaper.
On a day when Saina failed to reach semi-finals, Sindhu did.
Facts on PV Sindhu
Born: July 5, 1995, started playing at 8 years
Height: 5 feet, 11 inches
Trains at Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad
Supported by Olympic Gold Quest
Plays for Awadhe Warriors (Lucknow) in Indian Badminton League (IBL). Bought in the players auction for $80,000
Major Achievements (Senior and Junior)
Winner - Malaysian Open Grand Prix, 2013
Finalist - India Grand Prix International Gold, 2012
Finalist - Dutch Open, 2011
Semi-finals - Indian Open Super Series, 2013
Semi-finals - China Masters Super Series, 2012
Winner - Asia Youth Under-19 Championship, 2012
Winner - Singles and Doubles, Under-13 Sub Junior Nationals, 2007
Quarter-finals - Junior World Championships, 2010
Winner - 35th National Junior (Under-19) Championships, 2010
Winner - Indonesia International Badminton Challenge, 2011
Winner - Tata Open India International Challenge, 2011
Winner - Maldives International Badminton Challenge, 2011