'Not over yet': PV Sindhu thanks coach Park Tae-Sang for the pep talk

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Reigning world champion PV Sindhu said she was completely blank after winning a second successive Olympic medal and it took her a while to realise the enormity of her historic achievement in the ongoing Games.

PV Sindhu with her coach Park Tae-Sang at the Olympics
Bronze medalist Pusarla V. Sindhu of Team India poses for the camera with her coach Park Tae-Sang (right) during the medal ceremony in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
PV Sindhu with her coach Park Tae-Sang at the Olympics
PV Sindhu of India reaches out to hug her coach after winning the match against He Bingjiao of China. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
PV Sindhu with her coach Park Tae-Sang at the Olympics
PV Sindhu of India hugs her coach as she celebrates winning the match against He Bingjiao of China. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
PV Sindhu with her coach Park Tae-Sang at the Olympics
PV Sindhu of India hugs her coach as she celebrates winning the match against He Bingjiao of China. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
PV Sindhu of Team India talks to her coach Park Tae-Sang
PV Sindhu of Team India talks to her coach Park Tae-Sang (left) as she competes against He Bing Jiao of Team China in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The 26-year-old Indian on Sunday etched her name among the all-time greats after winning badminton's women's singles bronze medal to add to the silver she won at Rio de Janeiro five years back. She became the first Indian woman and second overall from the country to achieve the feat.

“…I was blank, my coach was in tears, it was a big moment, I hugged him and thanked him. I didn't know what to do for 5-6 seconds, I shouted so all emotions came together at that moment,” she said during a virtual press conference.

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In the third-place play-off, Sindhu beat China's He Bing Jiao. The win came after a painful loss in the semifinals to world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying.

PV Sindhu of Team India talks to her coach
PV Sindhu of Team India talks to her coach Park Tae-Sang (left) as she competes against He Bing Jiao of Team China in Tokyo. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Sindhu said coach Park Tae-Sang's encouragement helped her to recover from the semifinal loss and claim the bronze for the country.

“After semis, I was really sad, I was in tears but my coach said it is not over yet. There were mixed emotions if I should be sad or happy but he told one thing. He said 'there is a lot of difference between a fourth position and a bronze' and that really hit me,” she said.

“I went with the mindset that I have to give my 100 percent.”

A lot of questions were raised when Sindhu decided to move out of the Pullela Gopichand Academy and train at the Gachibowli indoor stadium which had bigger halls similar to the venue here.

Sindhu said it was one of the best decisions, especially since drift played a role during the Games at the Musashino Forest Plaza.

“Yeah, from the beginning there was no controversy ... We had this opportunity to play in conditions similar to Olympics, so from February we have been playing there, it has really helped us because drift played a big role and I learned a lot in Gachibowli, I learned to control the shuttle better.”

“It had international courts with air conditioners, which was important. So I feel it was the best decision...We got used to different players from Suchitra Academy also. so it was important.”

In the last five years, Sindhu has worked with three different foreign coaches including Indonesia's Mulyo Handoyo, Korea's Kim Ji Hyun and Park.

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“I learnt a lot from each coach. It is good to learn new skills and utilise them whenever needed. They all were different, with different mindsets. I'm happy I have with me the knowledge that they taught me.”

Sindhu also said she will want to continue training under Park, who was initially hired to train the men's singles players but started working with Sindhu after the abrupt departure of Kim Ji Hyun.

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“I have known him for a long time when he was training with the Korean team...initially it took us time to get to know each other, about the conditions but there was this dream to get an Olympic medal so we worked really hard. Especially in this pandemic lot of people suffered, he couldn't go home, he just went home for 13 days. So it is all his hard work and we finally got this medal back to the country.”

“Park has been my coach for about a year and a half, so yeah, I would love to continue with him as my coach.”

Asked about her plans for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Sindhu laughed and said: “There is still time for Paris, let me just cherish the moment, I will give my best and give my percent.”

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