Commonwealth Games gold medalist Sindhu’s coach has the magic mantra to win: Relax!

PV Sindhu won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games 2022. The coach told

What was the mantra of PV Sindhu’s victory in the Commonwealth Games?

Image Credit source: AFP

Amit Kamath from Birmingham

After the Indian badminton team won the silver medal in the mixed team event of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, PV Sindhu’s coach Park Tae-sang posted a picture of both of them with the silver medal on Instagram last week. She clarified her opinion about the medal in the caption, writing, “To be honest, I don’t like the silver colour,” a medal that Sindhu bagged with Park’s help on Monday is something South Korean coaches can really appreciate: Gold medal in women’s singles final of Commonwealth Games! Considering that earlier she had managed to win only bronze and silver medals at the Commonwealth Games, it is a huge medal for the 27-year-old shuttler as well.

Sindhu had suffered an injury on the top of the heel

“After the quarter-finals, he got a minor injury on the top of the heel. Hence, their pace was very slow in the first game in the semi-finals. The top part of his heel was taped. But she recovered well after the semi-finals. Still, when she was warming up before the match, I was a little worried. His movement was not right. Was a little slow. But eventually, we did it. I have coached Sindhu for four years. It’s a proud moment for my life and career,” Park said on Monday after the women’s singles final.

While working with Sindhu since 2019, Park himself has learned a few selected Hindi sentences. As soon as Sindhu won the gold medal on Monday, Park shouted loudly at the camera ‘Jai Hind, Bharat’. He excitedly clenched his fist and raised it towards the sky. “During the game I speak only comfortably in Hindi since Tokyo. She gets upset when opponents take back-to-back points against Sindhu. There is still a lot of time left in the game but she gets upset. At such times I always tell him, ‘Sindhu, please, comfortably. The match is not over yet. You can still win. The opponent will also give you a chance ahead in the game. you stop. Don’t be upset.

Sindhu working on defense

Park revealed that he is working more on Sindhu’s defense these days so that what she is going to do next is not understood by the opponent till the last moment. He believes that by the time the Paris Olympic Games 2024 comes, Sindhu will be a thorough expert in this. He said, “To be honest, I am not worried about Sindhu’s attack on her opponent. I have never been worried about his attack. When it comes to attack, I think he is the best. Now our focus is on Defense. In Sindhu’s case, if she manages to do well, then the game is over for the opposition. If the defense is even better, she can easily win. I am a little worried about his defensive game. If she gets scared even a little, then the match becomes difficult. Hence, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games, Park ensured that Sindhu only focused on defense training during practice. Before the Commonwealth Games, he increased Sindhu’s defensive game practice from four to five days a week.

“Sindhu’s physical strength never bothered me. Since the World Championships in 2019, I have never heard Sindhu say that she is tired or in pain. He is very strong mentally and physically. I train only to focus on the defensive game. Sindhu’s opponents like Tai Tzu Ying, Ratchanok Intanon and An Se Young have excellent trick shots, smashes and motion drop shots. Among them Sindhu is very weak. I don’t care about Akane Yamaguchi even though he is a good player. Chen Yufei is an Olympic gold medalist. But we can fight it. Tai Tzu and Ratchanok slice drop shots. His smash is also very fast. Against those players, Sindhu is a bit weak.”

Which shot of Sindhu does the coach want to correct?

Making Sindhu’s hit unpredictable (a shot that the opponents can’t understand) is a priority for the South Korean coach ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. “When the Olympics got postponed to 2021, at that time I was thinking that this is a very good opportunity. Sindhu’s specialty in 2020 was only her strength. If an opponent threw the shuttle, she would smash well. Smash only! All the high-ranked players knew his style. She knew that if she threw the shuttle against Sindhu, she would smash in 90 to 100 percent of the cases. So when the Olympics got postponed, I worked on changing his style. Now Sindhu can do motion drop shot or trick drop shot too well. All the higher seeded opponents toss the shuttle and expect Sindhu to smash it. I know Sindhu’s smash is very strong. But the opponents with higher ranks have very good defense. There are only two years left in the Olympics. These days if Sindhu can master the drop shot and the motion drop shot, then we can do well in Paris.”

After helping Indian shuttler Sindhu to win the Badminton singles crown in Birmingham 2022, Park is now eyeing the two-time Olympic medalist to clinch a gold in the women’s singles title at Paris 2024. The title which is far away from the hands of the country’s most successful shuttler. “He already has silver and bronze medals in the Olympics. He doesn’t have a gold medal. So in the next Olympic Games, we will be eyeing gold.” In front of a coach who speaks comfortably during the match, Sindhu doesn’t care about any medal other than gold.