Promising: Sindhu Makes Way For Every Indian To Dream High

With the benefit of hindsight, it may be advantageous that the PV Sindhu biopic—which has been rumoured to be in various stages of development since back in 2017—hasn’t been produced yet. This is because, in 2024, she will have the extremely rare chance to transition from being named “India’s Greatest Female Athlete” to “India’s Greatest Ever Athlete,” gender aside. Because Sindhu will have accomplished something no man or woman from this country has ever accomplished before: win three medals in individual disciplines at the Olympic Games if she medals at the Paris Olympics later this year, even if it’s just a bronze.

But Sindhu isn’t just chasing any old medal. No. After going through a few terrifying seasons, the only thing that could have inspired her to get back up and pursue her dreams was the excitement of finding the elusive gold and the venerable quest for El Dorado.
Including a conflict that the audience wants to see resolved at the conclusion is a basic element of screenplay composition, whether it is for a stage production or a motion picture. The Hyderabadi girl sought and found perfection in her sport, winning silver at the Rio Games in 2016 and bronze at the Olympics the following year. She also achieved India’s first-ever gold at the World Championships in Basel, 2019—a feat that earned her the third-highest civilian honour in the nation, the Padma Bhushan, in 2020. Sindhu’s career appeared to be without interruption until the COVID-hit Tokyo Games in 2021.

Because of all of this, she became an inspiration to women and aspiring athletes nationwide, inspiring many of them to pick up a badminton racquet. However, by late 2022, conflicts started to show up in Sindhu’s life in large quantities—just when no one was expecting them, least of all her.

First, despite experiencing a twinge in her ankle, Sindhu continued to play against Michelle Li of Canada in the final of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August of that year. Although the one and only CWG gold she would win was worth it, she suffered a hairline fracture to her ankle, which required months of rest and a dip in the rankings. When Sindhu did make a comeback in 2023, it was after that highly visible on-court altercation with Carolina Marin—the same Spanish player who had disqualified her from the Rio Olympics—and even racquet fights beneath the net at the Denmark Open.

As the great often do when faced with a bad hand, Sindhu hasn’t forgotten the time of intense turmoil, which she refers to as “the lows,” or used it for lessons in the future. 

When she faced Supanida Katethong of Thailand at the French Open in October of last year, she began to experience worsening problems with her left knee. She managed to win the opening game in spite of the discomfort, but she soon had to forfeit a match in the middle of it for the first time in her career. She had to miss two months of competition due to a serious knee injury, and she also had to defend her position just outside the top 10.

In case the 28-year-old, who is young in age but appropriately middle-aged for being a singles player in her sport, wasn’t facing an enormous challenge already, there was additional turmoil at home when Sindhu reevaluated and revamped her team late last year. This was the first time in her life that she had moved from Hyderabad to Bengaluru to train under the guidance of Prakash Padukone, who had become her new mentor.

Life and career have started to settle again with this newfound guidance and a new full-time coach at Indonesia’s Agus Dwi Santoso. However, Sindhu hasn’t forgotten the turbulent time she refers to as “the lows” or used it as a springboard for future learning—something the best people do when given a bad hand.

In October of last year, Padukone—who had been India’s first champion at the All-England tournament in 1980—contacted Sindhu to inquire about her need for assistance after learning from the media that she was experiencing mental exhaustion. The training started off as pep talks and only gradually progressed to the court. Padukone’s mentoring had such a profound impact on Sindhu that she decided to relocate permanently instead of continuing to alternate between her Hyderabad home and Bengaluru for these sessions.

Sindhu has demonstrated that she is not afraid to work hard and overcome significant challenges. How she handles the upcoming tests, including the most important one in Paris in July, will determine her legacy. She is already a trailblazer in India, encouraging people of all ages to excel in their chosen fields. She will live forever if she wins a medal in Paris.

The quality that truly sets Sindhu apart is her willingness to both learn and unlearn. In addition to the mental training, Padukone had to teach her to forget some of the game-play guidelines that her prior coaches had taught her. After Park Tae-sang left, she changed instructors, and each of them gave her a different piece of advice, so she wasn’t quite sure what approach to take. Therefore, the first task was to teach her the proper technique and tactics to use when facing various opponents. In order to become fit, she had to work on her physical attributes. This will enable her to play the attacking style of play that best fits her.

Nonetheless, there was only one long-term objective behind all of this training and labour. To the same daily, Padukone remarked, “Olympic gold.” “It is the only thing.” 

After being reprogrammed, Sindhu 2.0 was ready to compete in the upcoming year. Her coach had given her strong instructions to try and win every tournament she entered before the Paris Games. Thus, she acted. At the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on February 18, Sindhu and the youthful Anmol Kharb earned India a historic first gold medal by defeating Thailand 3-2 in the final. This marked the beginning of her return.

She has now returned to the French Open, the location where her body had malfunctioned the previous year. She will also compete in the All-England Championships soon, although she hasn’t yet won there. However, she will be travelling with a previous Padukone tournament champion this time.

Even so, the 28-year-old now faces overwhelming odds, and each new task will only exacerbate the situation. South Korea’s An Se-young, who recently turned 22 and currently holds the No. 1 ranking in singles badminton, serves as a prime example, as the sport is fundamentally a sport for young people. But even just overcoming this slump and winning a medal in Malaysia shows that Sindhu isn’t afraid to work hard and overcome challenges. How she handles the challenges in the next three months, including the largest one in Paris in July, will determine her legacy.

She is already a trailblazer in India, encouraging people of all ages to excel in their chosen fields. She will live forever if she wins a medal in Paris. Furthermore, the new screenplay for her long-awaited biopic would have essentially written itself if that medal turned out to be gold.

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