Childhood & Early Life
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu was born on July 5, 1995, in Hyderabad, India, to P. V. Ramana and P. Vijaya. Both her parents have been national level volleyball players. Her father, Ramana, who was a member of the Indian volleyball team that won the bronze medal in 1986 Seoul Asian Games, received the Arjuna Award in 2000 for his contribution to the sports.
She has an elder sister, P. V. Divya, who was a national-level handball player. However, she was not interested in pursuing professional sports and became a doctor. She later married US based software engineer, Anurag Kumar.
Sindhu was inspired by Pullela Gopichand's win in All England Badminton Championship in 2001 and became interested in badminton.
She started playing badminton at the age of six, and her father later started taking her to the badminton courts of Indian Railway Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications in Secunderabad. As a seven-year-old, she could not play with senior players, but following the advice of renowned badminton coach Mehboob Ali, she would do wall practice till the paint on the wall peeled off.
In 2004, she came under the tutelage of Pullela Gopichand. Under Gopichand's guidance, she won the doubles title at the 5th Servo All India championship and the singles title at the Ambuja Cement All India tournament, playing in the under-10 category.
At under-13 level, she won the singles title at the Sub-juniors in Pondicherry, doubles titles at the Krishna Khaitan All India Tournament, IOC All India Ranking, the Sub-Junior Nationals and the Pune All India Ranking. Later, she helped her under-14 team win gold medal at the 51st National School Games in India.
She attended Auxilium High School at her home city till 9th grade, after which she finished her education through correspondence due to her busy schedule. She graduated from St. Ann's College for Women in Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad, with a bachelor's degree in commerce.
Continue Reading Below
P. V. Sindhu got international recognition after she won a bronze medal at the 2009 Sub-Junior Asian Badminton Championships in Colombo. The very next year, she managed to claim the silver medal in the singles category at the 2010 Iran Fajr International Badminton Challenge.
At the 2010 Junior World Badminton Championships held in Mexico, she reached the quarterfinals. She was also part of the Indian national team at the 2010 Uber Cup.
She defeated Japanese Player Nozomi Okuhara 18–21, 21–17, 22–20 to win Asia Youth Under 19 Championship on July 7, 2012.
In the 2012 Li Ning China Masters Super Series tournament, she achieved a surprise win by defeating London 2012 Olympics gold medalist Li Xuerui of China by 21–19, 9–21, 21–16. However, in the semifinals, she lost to 4th seed Jiang Yanjiao of China by 10–21, 21–14, 19–21.
Despite her good performance in the China Open, she disappointed in the Japan Open, being defeated by Korean shuttler Bae Yeon Ju in the second round by 21–10, 12–21, 18–21. It was later revealed that she sustained a knee injury during the China Open, which affected her performance in the Japan Open.
In 2012, she participated in the 77th Senior National Badminton Championships in Srinagar as her knee injury was unknown at that point. She managed to reach the finals, but was defeated by Sayali Gokhale for 15–21, 21–15, 15–21. Following this tournament, she took rest to recover from her injury and missed the World Junior Championships.
She participated in the Syed Modi India Grand Prix Gold event in Lucknow in December 2012. She reached the final without losing a single set, but lost in the final to Indonesian player Linda Weni Fanetri.
In 2013, she won her first Grand Prix Gold title by defeating Gu Juan from Singapore by 21–17, 17–21, 21–19 in the Malaysian Open. In August 2013, the then 10th seeded Sindhu defeated the defending champion, 2nd-seeded Wang Yihan of China, and reached the women's quarterfinals at the BWF World Championships. In the next game, she defeated another Chinese player, Wang Shixian, to become the first Indian women singles player to win a medal at the World Championships.
P. V. Sindhu led her team, Awadhe Warriors, in the 2013 Indian Badminton League. They beat Mumbai Marathas to reach the finals, but lost to Hyderabad HotShots in the final. In December 2013, she defeated Michelle Li from Canada to win the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold title as the top seeded player.
Continue Reading Below
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, she lost to Michelle Li in the semifinal. Nevertheless, she won another medal in the BWF World Badminton Championships in 2014 to become the first Indian to win two back-to-back medals in the tournament.
In 2015, for first time, she reached to the final of a Super Series event, at the Denmark Open but lost to the defending champion, Li Xuerui, in straight games by 19–21, 12–21.
At the 2015 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold championship, she was the defending champion after winning the title for two consecutive years. She defeated Japan's Minatsu Mitani in the final by 21–9, 21–23, 21–14 and successfully defended her title.
Sindhu started 2016 by winning the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold women's singles title in January. She defeated Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour in the final and claimed the title for the second time after 2013.
She was chosen as the captain of the Chennai Smashers team for the 2016 Premier Badminton League. She helped her team qualify for the semifinal by winning all five of the group league matches. Her team lost to Delhi Acers in the semifinal.
At the Rio Olympics 2016 women's singles event, Sindhu reached the finals but lost to the top seed Carolina Marin of Spain in the finals. Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win an Olympic Silver medal.
Awards & Achievements
P. V. Sindhu created history by becoming the youngest and first Indian woman to earn an Olympic Silver medal in 2016 Rio Olympics.
She was awarded the Arjuna Award for badminton in 2013. She also received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for badminton in 2016. These are the two prominent sports awards given in India.
In 2015, the Indian Government bestowed upon her the Padma Shri award. It is the fourth highest civilian honor awarded in India.
In 2014, she received the FICCI Breakthrough Sportsperson of the year award. The same year, NDTV named her the Indian of the Year 2014.
P. V. Sindhu, who reached the final of a tier three event for the first time during the 2012 Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold tournament, missed her elder sister's wedding for it. She hoped to gift the trophy to her sister, but lost the game to Linda Weni Fanetri of Indonesia.
She missed regular college life as she had to complete her education via correspondence due to her training and sport events. However, she mentioned that travelling throughout the world more than made up for it.
Cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar, presented her a BMW car, after she won a silver medal in 2016 Rio Olympics.