World champion Sindhu returns home to hero’s welcome

PV Sindhu, BWF, badminton, World Championship, Nozomi Okuhara, Pullela Gopichand, Kiren Rijiju,
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju meets World Champion PV Sindhu at his residence, in New Delhi. Sindhu became the first Indian to win the badminton World Championships by beating familiar rival Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a lop-sided final in Basel. Photo: PTI

India’s first badminton world champion PV Sindhu was welcomed exuberantly on her return to the country and promised to work harder to clinch more medals.

The Olympic silver-medallist, who out-played Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-7 21-7 in a lop-sided final of the big event in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday (August 25), was mobbed at the airport after she touched down with national coach Pullela Gopichand by her side on Monday (August 26) night here.

Despite the hectic schedule she has endured, the 24-year-old had a smile on her face as she acknowledged supporters and the media at the airport. “I am really happy, I am very proud of my country. It’s a much-awaited win and I am very happy about it,” she said in response to questions that were thrown at her almost at the same time.

The Hyderabadi has had little time to reflect since her historic triumph. She has had a breakfast meeting with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the day.

Also read: Sindhu scripts history, becomes 1st Indian to win World Championship

“I will work more hard and win many more medals,” she said on questions about the plans from now given that the Olympics is less than a year away.

Sindhu was also asked about the moment she got emotional after the medal distribution ceremony. The five-time world medallist had tears in her eyes when the national anthem played. She had claimed silvers in the past two editions, besides a couple of bronze medals earlier.

“I had tears and there were a lot of emotions, it was a great moment for me. Thanks to all my fans for your blessings, your blessings have brought me here,” she said.

“I would like to thank my coaches Gopi sir and Kim (Ji Hyun). They have put in a lot of effort and done a few changes in my game,” she added.

Kim Ji Hyun, a former international from South Korea, joined the coaching staff earlier this year on Gopichands recommendation.