The first Indian to win the Badminton World Championship, PV Sindhu’s journey has intrigued and fascinated the nation. Right from the time she entered the public spotlight with her silver at the Rio Olympics 2016, Sindhu has been consistently raising the bar in terms of her performance and medals. Her journey though wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts and sacrifices her parents made through the long years of her training.

Parents of high-achieving sportspersons have to work as hard as their kids. Sindhu’s mother, Vijaya, was a volleyball player herself, playing for the Railways, according to News18 . She well understands the commitment and discipline needed for a sportsperson to make their mark on the national and international arena.

Sindhu's family watching semifinals of Badminton in Rio Olympics
Sindhu’s family watching semifinals of Badminton in Rio Olympics
Image credit: successstory.com

“I always believed that she would conquer the world. Today, she made me very proud. I had tears in my eyes. She missed the gold very narrowly twice but today she was on top from the first point,” Ramana said

A mother’s hard work is evident here

Vijaya says that she never had to force her child to complete her homework as Sindhu was responsible enough to complete her homework on time before going for badminton practice. The modest mother claims she deserves little credit for Sindhu’s successes. “Sindhu has always been very dedicated. She is the one who decided to learn badminton and make something of herself. It’s not like we did anything special for her. Sometimes, she works so hard, that as a mother I wonder how she does it,” says Vijaya.

Little Sindhu with her mom Vijaya
Little Sindhu with her mom Vijaya Image credit: successstory.com

When Sindhu was young, Vijaya balanced a full-time job, while raising her children and balancing her household duties. She soon quit in order to focus on Sindhu’s needs as a budding sports star. She was particular about ensuring Sindhu got the nutrition she needed and cooked the right kind of food for her daughter. “I keep insisting to her to take rest, enjoy, go out for movies and hang out with her sister and cousins. I worry that if she keeps working so hard, it would take a toll on her health and make her weak. It is also important to relax,” she said.

“It’s not like we did anything special for her. Sometimes, she works so hard, that as a mother I wonder how she does it,” Vijaya.

On winning the World Championships, Sindhu dedicated her win to Vijaya as a birthday gift. “I would like to dedicate this win to my mom,” said Sindhu after accepting the medal. “It’s her birthday today. Thank you, Mom.”

When asked if she liked her daughter’s birthday present, Vijaya was quoted saying, “It’s a gift of a lifetime. It is a wonderful feeling to receive something like this as a gift from my daughter… She has always given me beautiful gifts on birthdays, be it a sari or something else. But, this is truly special.”

READ:Travelling Abroad, I Have Seen A Lot Of Respect For Women: PV Sindhu

Back in her time, Vijaya says women weren’t really encouraged to play sport. “Nowadays, women don’t face such discrimination. In sports, in fact, women are making it big. When I was growing up, girls weren’t even allowed to go out and play. Most of the times, getting permission to play was the hardest part. The neighbours would say, ‘why is she going out and playing when she should study?”

Her parents met while playing various volleyball matches and tournaments, and eventually got married. Sindhu would accompany her parents to practice and was naturally drawn into the sport. She was barely six then. As she grew, Sindhu decided to focus on badminton. Vijaya who was a working mom, decided to quit her job in order to give her full-fledged attention to Sindhu and her sports training. “Nowadays, it’s okay to want to make a career in sports. There are more opportunities now, and of course, there are jobs in banks and other public sectors. But, you have to be educated too. Sports and studies have to be balanced equally,” says Vijaya.

“Sindhu has dedicated most of her growing up years to badminton… She is a very family-oriented person. She is kind and very sweet-natured,” says Vijaya

First inspiration came from dad

Sindhu credits her success to her father PV Ramana, a volleyball player. An ex-sportsman himself, Ramana was a part of the national team that won the bronze at 1986 Seoul Asian Games and is an Arjuna awardee. Ramana instilled sporting discipline in Sindhu from an early age. A dedicated player since the beginning, Sindhu never took her training sessions lightly. She would travel a one-way distance of 30 km every day from Marredpally to Gawchibowli twice a day making for 120kms of travel every day. This meant waking at 3 am every day to reach the academy by 4 am.

Sindhu in her childhood with her dad PV Ramana
Sindhu in her childhood with her dad PV Ramana
Image credit: successstory.com

In an interview after Sindhu’s Olympic silver medal win, JBS Vidyadhar, a former India doubles player spoke about the struggle and discipline that went into making Sindhu a world-class player.

“Waking up every day at 3 AM and taking Sindhu for training close to 12 years is not a joke. From Marredpally her father used to drop and pick her up from Gopichand’s Academy at Gachibowli, driving 60-kilometer twice a day.”

Ramana accompanied her to training everyday. He eventually decided to move closer to the academy so that less time was spent travelling and Sindhu could focus more on her game.

A. Chowdary, Joint Secretary, Badminton Association of India, mentions how Sindhu’s father would massage her feet when she would get tired from all the practice and would go wherever she went. He further added:

“When everybody was fast asleep they woke up for a cause. Ramana gave up everything for Sindhu. He used to follow his daughter like a shadow where ever she went to play. He was seen in Nellore, Ravulapalem, Bhimavaram, Chirala, and Vijayawada during the State tournaments and national events. Ramana’s wife Vijayalakshmi sought voluntary retirement from the Railways to take care of her daughter’s career.”

Sindhu with her mom and grand mom
Sindhu with her mom and grand mom
Image credit: successstory.com

Her parents are her support system

Sindhu calls herself blessed to have such supportive parents.

“I am lucky to have sportspersons as parents. They supported me in whichever sport I wanted to play. People ask me why not volleyball as both parents were volleyball players. My parents supported my decision to take up badminton. I have reached wherever I have because of the sacrifices of my parents”

“I am lucky to have sportspersons as parents. They supported me in whichever sport I wanted to play. People ask me why not volleyball as both parents were volleyball players. My parents supported my decision to take up badminton. I have reached wherever I have because of the sacrifices of my parents”

Gopichand with little Sindhu and Sindhu's family
Gopichand with little Sindhu and Sindhu’s family
Image credit: successstory.com

While Sindhu is now a world champion, however, we must salute her parents who raised her to be aggressive in the court and humble in real life.

Feature Image Credit : successstory.com

Read More Stories By Ria Das

Email us at connect@shethepeople.tv