The impromptu interview that spoke volumes of Sindhu the person

Left: Boria Majumdar holding the signed Tshirt of PV Sindhu. Right: PV Sindhu. Source: Boria Majumdar Archive

Team RevSportz is in Bengaluru today and tomorrow for a series of shoots. And one of the athletes training in Bengaluru is PV Sindhu. Sindhu, as we all know, is training with Prakash Padukone and had skipped the Uber Cup to focus on her Olympic preparations. And from the interview we had done with Prakash Sir, he was extremely confident that she would be ready to mount a strong challenge for Paris 2024. 

With us in Bengaluru, it is perhaps fitting that I share a Sindhu story, which had made a huge difference to me and to RevSportz during the course of the last two years, when untruths were peddled to derail us. 

Sindhu was one athlete I had the privilege of covering from the time she was a star in the making. I was there at the Rio Olympics, in Tokyo, and at multiple tour events, and had interacted with her dozens of times. In every sense, she was a friend and someone I had great regard and admiration for. As expected, Sindhu made the final of the Commonwealth Games in July-August 2022, and was one of India’s most popular athletes in Birmingham. Without access to the mixed zone (I was not accredited), I had not met or spoken to her during the event. 

An hour and a half after her gold-medal match, she had finished all her routine mixed-zone interactions and also gone through doping control. Most of the journalists had left the badminton hall and moved on to something else. Trisha and I were in the café just outside the venue when Sindhu walked in. She was alone and looking relaxed after winning the final. Seeing me there, she seemed surprised. ‘I could see you in the gallery for all my games, and could hear you shout, but then I did not see you in the mixed zone,’ she said with a smile. ‘You don’t want to interview me?’ she joked. 

I told her why I had not been in the mixed zone. Without establishing contact on WhatsApp, usually frowned upon during tournaments, it had been impossible to get in touch. She heard me out patiently, and said: ‘So, why don’t we do something now? Outside the venue is perfectly fine to do something, and you wouldn’t be breaking any media protocol either.’ 

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Prakash Padukone and PV Sindhu
Prakash Padukone and PV Sindhu (PC: PV Sindhu/X)

Sindhu could sense I was taken aback. She smiled and said something that I still remember quite vividly. ‘If we could stay up till 3:10am in Tokyo during the Covid Olympics to do an interview, and if I could give you my Olympic-medal jersey, I hope you know I will always do whatever I can to help,’ she said. ‘You have done some fantastic work for Olympic sport and helped me always.’ Before I could react, she said, ‘Now, let’s do it immediately, have to attend a number of things soon.’ 

We recorded the interview with her on the phone, and she was excellent as always. She spoke at length on what it felt like to see the tricolour go up, and the interaction was widely viewed and appreciated. The men and women who mattered had all stayed with me. The Commonwealth Games coverage was a spectacular success, and we were clawing back lost ground. 

Now, look forward to celebrating her in Paris as she gets ready for her tryst with history. Back-to-back medals at three consecutive Olympics would be something spectacular, and we will be in Paris – physically or in spirit – to back her in her quest. 

Also Read: Running into Sir Roger Bannister in Oxford ahead of the 2012 London Olympics