Although she has an Olympic medal to her credit at the age of 21, Pullela Gopichand believes PV Sindhu is “far from a complete transformation” and may take time. Gopichand, however, believes that she will be head and shoulders above the field once she realizes her own potential.
PV Sindhu and Pullela Gopichand landed in Hyderabad to a rousing welcome as crowds thronged the roads from the airport to the city, and the Gachibowli stadium prepared itself for a felicitation ceremony. Addressing the media, Gopichand said his protege was far from reaching her peak. He said, "I think she is still far away from complete transformation. I believe we have just seen glimpses of what she is capable of. She has got potential and I was waiting for her to realise that. It might take time," reported PTI.
"We need to be patient. We need to understand that results may not come as consistently as we want them. But it is important she understand and tries. She is still 21 and she has probably another 10 years and once she realises what I see in my eyes, she will be head and shoulder above the rest of the world," he added.
Gopichand also lauded Sindhu's ability to rise up to the occasion and said, "The fact that at this big stage, when it needed the most, she performed, it is huge. Many times athletes can have the belief but crack in the final moments.
"We had a great progress and fantastic preparation for the Olympics even in Rio as we were living in the same flat. So we could plan everything to perfection. The good thing is when it mattered, she didn't hesitate to complete the job."
'Silver Girl' PV Sindhu was elated to have attained the Olympic podium so early in her career. Sindhu said, “It has been a dream for me to win an Olympic medal. Each tournament has been different. Olympics is very big. I am thankful to my parents.
"Gopi sir was always motivating. May be he seemed angry to others but for me it was his motivation that helped me. The last two months we really worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices and it paid off. We never thought about the medal. It was one match at a time and I am happy to win the medal."
Looking ahead, Gopichand was asked if India will win the badminton Gold at the next Olympics, and he responded to it by saying, "I know it is a tough job. There are strong athletes we will be competing against and our medal will make us a target but having said that we have age on our side. We have a bunch of players here who when I walked here were saying 2020 is for us. So hopefully we have a motivated group who will push each other and we will remain in contention in Tokyo."
Huge hopes were carried by the Indian contingent to Rio, but India managed to return with only two medals, and speaking about it, Gopichand said, "Thanks to the girls for saving our Olympic campaign."
However, he chose to look at the positive side of things as well and said, "I think having more than 100 athletes in Olympics is a huge achievement and instead of being negative and pointing fingers we need to celebrate it," reported PTI.