Kitchen is PV Sindhu’s new playground

New playground
P V Sindhu tries her hand at cooking along with mom P Vijaya.

Like many sportspersons around the world, world champion shuttler P V Sindhu too is finding her way through uncertain times. The 24-year-old has been confined to her home in Hyderabad on account of the coronavirus-inflicted lockdown.

This tough period, however, is proving to be a blessing in disguise for the ace shuttler as she is able to dabble in new things.

Kitchen is Sindhu’s new playground as she keeps herself busy in cooking, preparing snacks like onion pakoda, taking tips from her mom P Vijaya.

It took just about an hour for her to make hot and crispy pakodas before she was ready to attend the interactive session with Malayala Manorama readers and a few sportspersons from Kerala via WhatsApp.

Here are some select questions from the session and Sindhu’s answers to them:

You are one of the most admired sportspersons in India. Who is you favourite sports star? Also, are you a fan of any actor/actresses?

Alan Don Bosco, Cherpunkal, Kottayam.

It is hard to pick one player out as my favourite. There are many whom I admire, like Cristiano Ronaldo in football, Lin Dan in badminton, Serena Williams in tennis, and Virat Kohli in cricket. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone are my favourite movie couple.

The whole country is waiting to see you win gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Are you confident enough to live up to that expectation?

Ninan P George, Mavelikkara.

Like every Indian, I’m expecting to win nothing short of a gold in Tokyo. Having said that, I admit that the women’s badminton at the highest level has become more competitive after the Rio Olympics. Thankfully, I’m able to keep improving my game.

Is there a player whom you want to beat in the final and win the Olympics gold?

N Ali, Sankaramangalam, Pattambi.

Picking an opponent to take on in the final even before playing the first round of a tournament may sound far-fetched. However, if you insist to choose one player, it has to be Spaniard Carolina Marin, to whom I lost in the Rio final.

Is Marin the toughest opponent you have faced in your career so far?

R Abheek, Koppam, Palakkad.

The current top-10 players in women’s badminton are equally good. All of them possess different individual skills and strengths. Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu-ying is technically superior while Marin is quick and agile. China’s Chen Yufei is known for her accurate and powerful smashes.

What are your own traits that you love or hate the most?

A S Ibrahim Hussain, Palluruthy, and K S Anagha, Koovappally, Kottayam.

I always look to be cheerful and positive. Also I’m a very social person and am friendly with everybody. These are two of my positive personality traits. On the other side, I’m very sensitive and short-tempered.

Who’s your role model?

Arathi Ponnappan, Pulinthanam, Pathanamthitta.

My father (P V Ramana), who is a former national volleyball player. His self-discipline and hard work are worth emulating. Like him, I want to charm everyone with genuine humility and simplicity. I decided to choose a career in sports after watching him play during my childhood.

Can you tell us about your off-court camaraderie and on-court rivalry with Saina Nehwal?

U V Arun, Kozhikode.

We have known each other for a long time. Although two of us train together at the same academy, we set aside all those things when we are pitted against each other. While on the court, we always look to get the better of the other.

In fact, we are not close friends off the court as perceived by many. We don’t discuss personal topics at all.

How much of a factor is height in badminton? What is the ideal height for a shuttler?

Dr. Sathyan Pullangadan, Sreekrishnapuram, Palakkad.

I don’t think height can significantly influence success in badminton. There are advantages as well as disadvantages with being tall. My encounters with Nozomi Okuhara is a good example. I am 5 feet 11 inch while she is only 5'1, but we have beaten each other. Not height, but skills and tactics are the key, I believe.

In your opinion, who is the greatest badminton player of all time?

K P Sajith, Mananthavady, Wayanad.

Undoubtedly, it is China’s Lin Dan. He’s an absolute legend of badminton. It is his matches that I watch the most on YouTube and television. He is living proof of the fact that age does not matter if you are a genius.

What is the best advice you have ever received, and from whom?

Jefin Jaison, Kaithavana, Alappuzha.

It came from my parents. They keep reminding me that success should not make you forget your past.

Close bonding
Sindhu with her sister Divya and nephew Aryan.

Have you thrown racquet during matches?

M Rahul Mohan, Madhathil, Puthenpura, Elanji, Ernakulam.

I used to throw racquet regularly. It was out of disappointment at having lost points at the end of rallies or after making unforced errors. But now I rarely throw the racquet. Gopi sir's (coach P Gopichand's) advice is never to do it irrespective of the match situation.

What would have P V Sindhu become if not a shuttler?

A Nassar, West Hill, Kozhikode.

I don't know! I picked up badminton at the age of eight and have grown through the sport. After my sister Divya became a doctor I had plans of following her path. But right now I don't think of anything other than badminton.

There have been talks of a biopic based on you. Who's your pick to portray you on the big screen?

Anagha Mohan, Pranamam, Chovva, Kannur.

The movie has not been finalised yet. I would love to see Deepika Padukone play my role. It's up to the makers. I believe the movie could be an inspiration for many.

Did you feel dejected when you could not train due to the lockdown and later when the Olympic Games was postponed?

K Niranjana, Nivdeyam, Kanniparamaba, Kozhikode.

M B Jishnu, Mannar, Alappuzha.

Rosi Joy, Kalleli, Kuttikadu.

I have been training hard for the Olympics for the past four years. It's true that I felt disappointed when the Games was postponed with a few months to go. However, I have got one more year to prepare for the Olympics and it's an advantage.

Injuries have not troubled you much. What are the precautions you take in order to reduce the risk of injuries?

V Diju (badminton player)

I tie sand bags to my legs during weight training in order to avoid shin injuries. Also I apply weight on my shoulders to prevent knee injuries. And as you very well know the Gopichand Academy follows scientific training methods.

How do you spend the lockdown period without being able to train?

K T Irfan (Olympian race walker)

After a long gap I am getting such a break. My sister Divya and her son Aryan are here. It's never boring when Aryan is around. Plus there's cooking class by my mom. I learnt to make onion pakoda the other day. I am doing weight training at home though I can't practice at the academy.

The most memorable win and toughest loss?

Geethu Anna Jose (basketball player)

I felt most happy when I won the World Championship last October. The disappointments of all the previous final losses vanished from my mind thanks to that win. The most painful loss has to be the Rio Olympics final.

Who will be your partner if you decide to play mixed doubles?

Ancy Sojan (teen athlete)

I have not played mixed doubles so far. In case I have to play I will pick the world No.1 mixed doubles player as my partner. That will make my job easier!

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