P V Sindhu is happy to win a silver in the women’s singles badminton event after her gallant attempt to clinch a coveted gold for India ended in heart-break at the Rio Olympics here, saying she gave her “heart out”.
“I ended up with silver medal but I am really happy,” said Sindhu moments after losing her final clash 21-19 12-21 15-21 against two-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain.
“I’m really proud about it. I’m really happy. I could not win the gold. But I really worked hard. It was anybody’s game.
“I really fought very hard and gave my heart out. When I came to final, I told myself just one match to go and you could win a gold medal. Give it your best, and I tried very hard. I feel it was her day,” she added.
Sindhu also lauded Sakshi Malik, who opened the India’s medals tally with a bronze at the Rio Games and became the first Indian woman wrestler to win a medal in Olympics.
“A day before a girl has got a bronze, it’s me now. We have all played well. There will be ups and downs in sport like in life. Losing one or two points. I would like to congratulate everyone. It’s been a great week for me.
“I never thought I would make it to the final, but when I finally made it I thought I’ve to… I really worked hard. I missed the gold.”
Praising Marin on her Olympic gold, Sindhu said: “I also congratulate Carolina. It’s been a wonderful week for me. It’s anybody’s aim to win a medal at the Olympics.”
Talking about the final match, Sindhu said: “In today’s match both players were attacking and playing aggressive on court. One has to win and one has to lose. It was her day on centre court today. I’m very happy for her. She’s doing a great job.
“Overall, it’s not that I didn’t play well or get points. It was a good match, I can tell you. After the second game, we both were 10-all in the third. She took a lead of four points, and that lead went on. There were simple errors from my side,” she explained.
The 21-year-old from Hyderabad said bright days are ahead for Indian badminton.
“Future is good definitely. There are many players coming up, and many more will succeed. Badminton is doing really well in India. In men’s singles Srikanth lost very closely,” she said.
Despite finishing a notch higher with a silver medal at the Olympics as compared to her senior colleague Saina Nehwal, who had bagged a bronze at the 2012 London Games, Sindhu stayed grounded and said, “It’s a different comparison. She has also achieved a lot, and is senior to me.
“Today I feel finally I’ve achieved something in life. It’s my dream, anybody’s dream to win an Olympic medal. I’ve done it. Everybody in top 20/30 are kind of equal and don’t know what will happen as things may change anytime.”
On whether she would turn this silver into a gold at 2020 Tokyo Games, Sindhu said: “Hopefully yes. I will really work hard for it.”
With a new found confidence and ranking, which is set to improve, Sindhu’s next target is to win a Super Series.
“I feel it would change a lot from now onwards. With more confidence I would go further and maybe I would win a Super Series.”
Giving credit of her success to coach Pullela Gopichand, Sindhu said: “I’ve really worked hard before coming. I’ve been training hard and made so many sacrifices. Gopi sir has also sacrificed a lot. He’s been in court all throughout. Parents have also made so many sacrifices.”
Going into the match, Sindhu said she never thought about Marin’s world number one status and wanted to play her natural game.
“I had belief that I can do it in the second game but she played extremely well. I made simple errors and she won the match. I did not feel she’s world number one. I thought it’s anybody’s game and whoever does well would win it. Both of us played aggressively but she was better on the day.”