World badminton bronze medallist P. V. Sindhu received the Arjuna award from Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Jitendra Singh at the Sports Authority of India office here on Tuesday.
Sindhu could not be present when the awards function was held on August 31 since she was due to play in the final of the Indian Badminton League the same day. The award carries an Arjuna statue, Rs. five lakh and a citation.
“I am very happy to be chosen for this award,” said the 18-year-old. “I had not expected to be considered for the award this year. I returned from the World championship and very soon, I was surprised to learn that I was among the chosen ones. I owe it to my parents and coach P. Gopi Chand.”
When asked about the regret of missing the ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan last month, Sindhu admitted she felt sad but quickly added “I had a match to play that day.”
She said the award meant a lot to her. “I know I have to become stronger and achieve more. This award will keep me motivated to bring more laurels to the country.” The teenager, accompanied by mother Vijaya and a cousin, had to wait patiently for the conclusion of the SAI’s general body meeting which continued beyond the stipulated time before receiving the award.
Later, Vijaya said it was a proud moment for the family. “It is really nice that we have two Arjuna awardees at home,” referring to the Arjuna award presented to her husband Ramana, a volleyball player, in 2000. “It really feels good to see that father and daughter have won Arjuna Award in different disciplines,” said Vijaya. Last year, Sindhu won the National crown in January, went on to collect her first major international title in the 2012 Asian under-19 championship, beat the Olympic champion Li Xuerui in China Masters and reached the final of the Syed Modi Grand Prix in Lucknow.
This year, Sindhu won her maiden Grand Prix title in Malaysia and bagged a World championship medal by knocking out home favourites such as defending champion Wang Yihan and former World No. 1 Wang Shixian.