The 26-year-old on Sunday etched her name among the all-time greats after adding the badminton’s women’s singles bronze medal to her cabinet, which already has an Olympic silver that she won in Rio de Janeiro five years ago. By virtue of the effort, Sindhu became the first Indian woman and second from the country to achieve the feat.
“I was blank after the win, my coach was literally in tears. It was a big moment. I hugged Park Tae-sang and said ‘Thank you’. I didn’t know what to do for five to six seconds. I shouted, so all emotions came together at that moment,” said Sindhu.
In the third-place play-off, the reigning world champion beat China’s He Bing Jiao. She had suffered a painful semi-final loss to World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei. Sindhu said that coach Park’s encouragement helped her to recover from the last-four stage defeat.
“After the semis, I was really sad. I was in tears, but my coach said that it is not over yet. There were mixed emotions but Park me told one thing. He said ‘there is a lot of difference between a fourth place finish and a bronze’ and that really hit me,” she said.
“I went with the mindset that I have to give my 100 percent and get the medal.” Sindhu also said that she wants to continue training under Park.
Felt pressure after being assigned to train Sindhu: Coach Park
His phone hasn’t stopped buzzing ever since PV Sindhu clinched the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but India’s foreign badminton coach Park Tae-sang said that he did feel “a little bit of pressure” after being suddenly asked to train the star shuttler.
The 42-year-old from South Korea was initially hired to train the men’s singles players, but started working with Sindhu after the abrupt departure of Kim Ji Hyun in 2019. “I am really happy because this is the first time that my player has got a medal in my coaching career,” Park, who competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics before taking up coaching with the Korean national team, said.
“When I first started teaching Sindhu, she was already an Olympic star. I felt a little bit of pressure, but I tried. My Korean players didn’t get an Olympic medal, so I thought that I can try to get Sindhu a gold medal. We failed, but bronze is also a big medal.”