A beaming Olympic champion PV Sindhu arrived this morning at the Hyderabad airport, where hundreds had 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 her was her coach Pullela Gopichand, who has now trained two Olympic medallists in Saina Nehwal and Sindhu. They boarded a special open double-decker bus, commissioned by the Telangana government all the way from Mumbai, in a victory rally to Hyderabad’s Gachibowli stadium.
Also on the BEST bus, decorated with long strings of marigold was Srikanth Kidambi, trained by Mr Gopichand and who reached the men’s badminton quarter finals at the Olympics.
Many people lined up along the 30 km route to the stadium to cheer Sindhu, 21. Hundreds including students holding up big posters of Sindhu cheered for the champ at the stadium, where the Telangana government has organised a celebration.
Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh sent top ministers to greet Ms Sindhu at the airport in the capital they currently share. While Sindhu’s mother P Vijaya is from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, her father PV Ramana is from Adilabad in Telangana.
At Rio, PV Sindhu blazed through to the final, beating the World no 2, before she lost to world no 1 Carolina Marin of Spain 21-19, 12-21, 15-21 in a pulsating match that lasted an hour and 23 minutes.
Sindhu, a two-time World championship bronze medallist, became the first Indian woman player to win silver in the Olympics and only the fifth woman from India to win a medal at the games.