P.V. Sindhu, who was named as one of the Arjuna awardees on Tuesday, returned to the Pullela Gopi Chand Academy — where she had learned the basics before going on to win the first-ever women’s singles medal (bronze) in a World championship recently.

Within hours after arrival from China late on Monday night, the 18-year-old Hyderabadi shuttler went through the rigours of daily training as part of her preparations for the inaugural Indian Badminton League starting on Wednesday.

“I am really keen to improve my game. I look at the World championship medal as the beginning of a long journey. There is no way you can be satisfied with these kinds of performances,” said Sindhu who had a long training session under the watchful eyes of chief national coach Gopi Chand.

Immensely pleased

“No doubt, I am immensely pleased with the bronze medal in the Worlds. But, I am aware that it is time to really work hard to keep improving,” she remarked.

“I was disappointed at my loss to Ratchanok (Intanon) in the semifinals. But, I must acknowledge that she played a much better game and was a deserving winner. I just played a slightly negative game,” was Sindhu’s candid remark. “Ï don’t think I was under any sort of pressure during the semifinal battle. It is just that some things did not fall in place. I will surely work on the grey areas,” the articulate shuttler added.

Sindhu, according to Gopi Chand himself , was never on the radar of medal hopes given the tough draw for the World championship in Guangzhou. But she said that she took it match by match.

“After the tough first round match, I was more confident. And my big wins against Chinese players — defending champion Yihan Wang and the Asian Games gold medallist Shixian Wang — in the pre-quarters and the quarterfinals respectively, were the most memorable moments for me,” she explained.

On what sort of inspiration does London Olympics bronze medallist and training partner Saina Nehwal provides, Sindhu said that the former was always helpful to youngsters like her. “We share a lot of thoughts and she keeps encouraging me. I love the aggressive style of Saina and her consistency at the highest level which saw her so win so many events.”

Sindhu said that her parents — P.V. Ramana and Vijaya, both former volleyballers — were aggressive players and that is one quality she would love to imbibe herself.

“They always tell me one thing — to be positive. I dedicate this medal to Gopi Sir and to my parents,” she said.

Sindhu also stressed on the fact that she is not thinking too far right now. “I will take it tournament by tournament. Definitely an Olympics medal is the next big goal. But in the run-up to that, I will make every effort to be a better player, learning from whatever mistakes I make,” said Sindhu.

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