Hyderabad: A beaming Olympic champion PV Sindhu arrived this morning at the Hyderabad airport, where hundreds have gathered to greet her. Top politicians and others jostled to present flowers and shawls and click selfies with the first Indian woman to win a silver medal at the Games.
With Sindhu, 21, is her coach Pulella Gopichand. A special open double-decker bus has been commissioned by the Telangana government all the way from Mumbai, on which the badminton ace is travelling in a victory rally to a city stadium.
Along with wrestler Sakshi Malik, who won a Bronze, Sindhu ensured that India did not return empty handed from Rio in Brazil, where this year’s Olympic Games ended yesterday. The US topped the tally with 121 medals, 46 of them Gold.
Back home, both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have sent top ministers to greet the 21-year-old champ at the airport in the capital they currently share. While Sindhu’s mother Vijaya is from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, her father PV Ramana is from Adilabad in Telangana.
Both states have announced big rewards to celebrate Sindhu’s Silver – the Telangana government will give her a cash reward of 5 crore, a residential plot in Hyderabad and have offered her a job. The Andhra Pradesh government too has offered Sindhu a job and will give her a cash reward of 3 crore and a residential plot on Amravati, the new capital city it is building.
The decorated BEST bus will take Ms Sindhu and Coach Pullela Gopichand, who has trained two Olympic medallists in Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, to Hyderabad’s Gachibowli stadium, where she will be felicitated by the Telangana government. With them will be Srikant Kidambi, also coached by Mr Gopichand and who reached the men’s badminton quarter finals at the Rio Olympics.
Later this week, PV Sindhu will be presented a car, a BMW that will be handed to her by her favourite sportsman and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Last week, PV Sindhu lost to world no-1 Carolina Marin of Spain 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a pulsating final that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes.
Sindhu, a two-time World championship bronze medallist, became the first Indian woman player to win a silver in the Olympics and only the fifth woman from India to win a medal at the games.