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PV Sindhu targets elusive gold in Commonwealth Games

Hyderabad: Indian shuttler and two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu has a bronze and a silver from the previous two editions – Glasgow and Gold Coast respectively – at the Commonwealth Games.

The 27-year-old feels this edition could be hers to grab the elusive gold when the Games kicks off in Birmingham next week.

After a gruelling training session, the final one ahead of the team’s departure to Birmingham on Sunday, at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium on Saturday, Sindhu said she is happy with the run-up to the Games and hopes to clinch gold this time.

“Yes, the preparations have been great. I am looking forward to the Games. Winning the Singapore Super Series title ahead of the big tournament is a big confidence booster. Hopefully, I will give my best and win the gold this time,” she said with a smile.

Sindhu was frustrated with losses in quarterfinals and semifinal stages of the tournament this year and hence rates the win in Singapore as the top one. “It (win in Singapore) was very important. These kinds of wins give me a lot of confidence. I have been doing well but losing in three sets in semis and quarters. So winning this final means a lot,” added the player.

However, she is aware of the fact that the road to gold is a tough one, given the quality of players in the fray. “There are a couple of good players from Malaysia and Singapore. There is Li Michelle, Kirsty Gilmour who are very good. It is not easy but at the same time, I can’t take it easy. I have to give my 100 per cent from my first match.”

With Sindhu being the lone fancied female shuttler from the country for the medal, the pressure is huge on her. However, she is not perturbed by it. “Pressure of expectations is always going to be there. But it is important to go there and give our best. Every match counts, you can’t expect easy opponents. It depends on that particular day.”

Despite good performances, Sindhu failed to advance to the final in a few tournaments before the Singapore Super Series. When asked about the areas she worked on that helped her succeed in Singapore, she said, “We were working on our skills and physical fitness. As we play many tournaments now, we players know each other’s game. So it is important to strategies accordingly. It was like a process where everybody worked together and it finally came together”.

“It was just a question of time and you need to understand that sometimes it was not our day. There were a few matches where I played really well but lost in three games. You have to be confident no matter what. I know there will be days where nothing seems to be going our way and it will be difficult to win. You need to have that hope and confidence that you can come back stronger. I didn’t lose hope and I came back stronger and won in Singapore open,”

India will be entering as defending champions in the mixed team event and if they perform to their potential, they can defend the title. “We have good chances (of defending the gold). We have good players in all departments. It is very important that we don’t take it easy. I am sure we will get a couple of medals.”