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PV Sindhu says she will adopt new strategies in her quest for another Olympic medal in Paris

P.V. Sindhu is the only Indian sportswoman who has bagged two medals at the Olympic Games and was also a world champion in 2019.  At the Rio Olympics in 2016 she bagged a silver and then in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 (2021) she won a bronze medal. This talented badminton star from a sporting family in Hyderabad is now trying to win her third medal at the Paris Olympics which will get underway later this month.

But a difficult task lies ahead of her. In international sports, new champions come up every year. The younger lot are ambitious, hard-working and eager to take over the throne. Therefore, the older lions (in this case lionesses) are hard-pressed to retain their position as the leaders of the pride.

Sindhu is 200 percent confident that she will bring another medal from Paris. Having a high level of confidence is the first step towards victory for any athlete. Even the slightest self-doubt will lead to disaster and an experienced shuttler like Sindhu knows that very well.

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Recently in an interaction with the media, she said:” You need to be smart and also work hard. I feel like I am getting there. I am not overconfident but definitely wiser and therefore good enough to win another medal. I have learned a lot from my past mistakes.”

What do recent records show?

But realistically speaking, what are her chances going by recent records? The scenario is not high in her favour. As per the world ranking released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on 28th May 2024, Sindhu has a world rank of 28.

The list of world-ranked women players in the singles competitions has 22-year-old An Se-young of South Korea as the top-ranked player. In second place is Chen Yu Fei of China and in third place is Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei. While Chen Yu Fei is younger than Sindhu, the third-ranked Tai Tzu Ying is one year older than Sindhu.

In a tough badminton battle, every year in age makes a difference. The younger players have the suppleness, the strength in their joints and the speed of reflexes to come out on top. After Sindhu’s two injuries in 2022 and 2023, the results have not been as good as they used to be earlier. The string of injuries have been a major drawback but the Hyderabad lass is fighting it out.

Learned to be patient

Due to her experience, she is wiser and has learned to be patient. She waits for the right opening instead of going for the kill every time. She knows that there will be no easy points. Her rivals and their coaches have studied her game and they know how to counter her attacks. She will have to use her cunning and strategy to obtain her victories.

The Olympics is the greatest kind of challenge for any athlete. For a badminton player, it also needs a different approach than other Super Series competitions. Sindhu will have to be not only brilliant but also consistent. She will also have to battle the pressure of expectations as India’s leading medal hope in badminton. All eyes will be on her and the media will watch every move with keen interest.

Game has changed

The game itself has changed since Sindhu first began to hit the headlines. The matches last longer, there are more rallies and the players are stronger, physically and psychologically, to cope with the rigours of hard battles in the match after match.

Sindhu seems to have devised her plans. She recently said that for every opponent she faces in Paris, will have new moves to attack them. She will rely more on her willpower and planning to get the better of younger and fitter opponents.

Advice from Prakash Padukone

The legendary Prakash Padukone has been giving her invaluable advice that should be her biggest advantage. Prakash has told her to cut down on unforced errors but play all her shots freely. Whether her tactics will give her and India another Olympic medal or not will soon be seen. Her countless fans want to see her flashing that brilliant smile of a champion when she returns from Paris to Hyderabad.

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