Sindhu also finished second at the Hong Kong Superseries after losing to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in the final.
Mumbai: Ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu’s fantastic year which started with her second title at the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix has ended with her career best world ranking on Thursday. She is the best Indian ranked badminton player after jumping four places to sixth as Saina Nehwal dropped a place to 10th.
However, the biggest achievement of the year and her career came at the Rio Olympics, when she clinched a silver after losing to Spain’s Carolina Marin in the final. She also won her maiden Superseries title defeating China’s Sun Yu in the final of the China Open.
Sindhu also finished second at the Hong Kong Superseries after losing to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying in the final. Her year ended with a loss to South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in the semi-final of the Dubai World Super Series Finals but she defeated Marin earlier in the tournament to avenge her Olympic loss.
“I am really happy to achieve my career best ranking. Obviously I am aiming to be world no. 1 but it is just step by step. I hope this will continue and I keep on improving,” she said after the announcement of grassroots sports development initiative — IDBI Federal Life Insurance’s association with national coach Pullela Gopichand to launch the ‘Quest for Excellence’ programme.
The Hyderabadi shuttler admitted life has changed for her after Rio Olympics and now she has to win even more to maintain it.
“I think it is just the start and maintaining that is different. I have to work really hard. I am not taking any pressure I just want to enjoy and do my best,” she said.
Sindhu reiterated that competition was increasing and she will need to work harder to maintain her progress. “It was good to beat Marin in Dubai but I lost to Hyun who played better on the day. I had defeated her in China. It shows on a particular day whoever gives her best wins, everybody cannot give 100 per cent every time. There are top 20-30 players (in women’s singles) who are doing well and it doesn’t depend much on rankings. Badminton as a sport has improved and it is becoming challenging,” she said.
Gopichand Academy expansion?
The event was attended by cream of Indian badminton players from Gopichand’s Badminton Academy in Hyderabad like Kidamby Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, H.S. Prannoy, N. Sikki Reddy, Sourabh and Sameer Verma and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt besides Sindhu. The initiative will support Gopichand’s vision of creating world-class badminton players to represent India at international tournaments and bring back laurels for the country, including the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“On returning from the Rio Olympics, I was approached by Vignesh Shahane (CEO of IDBI Federal Life Insurance) and was told that they wanted to help the academy. We have always been struggling for funds and this offer is fantastic,” said Gopichand.
“The system is very good because of him (Gopichand). He’s constantly evolving as a coach. No other coach in the world has got the results he has as a single coach as compared to 20 or so in China and Korea,” said Kashyap.