In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18 covered by Team Stay Featured
Olympian medallist PV Sindhu talked about her preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. She shared her experiences, her preparation and how it has changed amidst the Covid-19 outbreak.
P V Sindhu: At the moment I am enjoying the pressure because I can't say that I don't have pressure, because of a lot of expectation and responsibility I think it's very important to just play your game and give your best rather than think what people want you to do because that will and extra pressure according to me and having that pressure and going to the court is not good. So I think it's better to just focus on your game and give your best.
Q: True, your bags are all packed. So what are the few things that you are going to pack for yourself so that you do well in Tokyo?
P V Sindhu: Lots of sanitizer and face mask. It's very important to stay safe and make sure that you follow all the Covid protocols because even though the Japanese government is doing everything and the protocols are being followed, it's very important to stay safe. Weaving in the bio bubble and everybody will be tested every day and it's going to be very different and I think so The Mask and sanitizer become very important. Apart from that, I am really looking forward.
Q: You are going to be the flag bearer. Is there a special honour? And that also increase the weight of expectation?
P V Sindhu: Well there are expectations but being the flag bearer, it's definitely a proud moment and holding the flag and representing your country, it's a proud movement for me. I am really happy about that and I am looking forward because not everybody gets that chance and me getting that chance and opportunity I think it's really a great moment.
Q: How has this been different this time? Because of the pandemic, a lot of things have happened, few of your colleagues didn't get qualify, the contingent is only 4, it's a very small contingent. But there are the Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. So how has it’s been different this time?
P V Sindhu: Yes it's very different, look at 2016 - it was different, and this time it's going to be completely different, we won't be having spectators around and we can't go anywhere and we have to stay in the big bubble. I think this pandemic has taught me a lot of things and I am getting used to it. For some of the players, it's getting difficult also. I think it's not just for us but it's for everybody out there. Unfortunately, the tournament is getting cancelled and getting postponed. It's not in our hands. We are in such a situation where you don't know what is next or what is going to happen. At this point, the only thing that we can do is to stay safe.
If the performance is getting cancelled we can't blame them also. Because you don't know how the situation is in their own country. Everybody wants to make sure that safety comes first. We don't want that situation to go in some other country and get infected from Covid there and staying there for a very long time. I think that's not a good idea. I think they have decided about it and have cancelled the tournament. Since they haven't got selected so we can't blame them also. It's going to be the first Olympics for Sai, Satvik and Chirag, and they are quite excited because everybody is theme is to be there at the Olympics and I think if anybody gets that chance they are going to enjoy it. So it's going to be different. But, I think they will learn new stuff.
Q: I am amazed that you are still so young yet still so much older. You are going to be the senior.
P V Sindhu: For me, it's my second Olympics so I know how the environment is going to be there and I know it's a really good environment you see a lot of athletes on top of their games and it becomes the inspiration for you that yeah you are one of them. So, it is good and it's something special. Olympic has always been special for me.
Q: Let's talk about three things the mental level the physical level and the skills. Let's talk about each one by one. Mentally you seem to be in a much better place than you were earlier. Now have you been working on that aspect because last time we spoke about mental awareness? Is it something that you have been focusing on?
P V Sindhu: I've been working on that. And I am making sure that I don't go to that state because a lot of people don't know what to do when they go to that state. Getting mentally upset, depressed not only in just sports life but also in personal life as well. So it's very important to keep yourself busy by doing something else rather than thinking too much about what's happening. It's important to understand the fact that nobody can do anything about it. Obviously, take care of yourself and stay safe.
Apart from that, it's very important to keep yourself busy by doing something else and don't think a lot about what happening, just a positive all the time. You can do that by doing some exercise or by learning some new skill, that is what I meant by keeping yourself busy you get so busy that you don't have time to think. Keep yourself in that zone and no that you have to stay positive. I know at times is there in life or in sports where you lose a match and things are not going your way so you get upset and begin to get depressed you need to try and come out from that place. You just have to think about what is next and keep going because that's how life is. Because I think positive and staying happy is very much needed. I am sure things will definitely change.
Q: Now that you know that you are mentally strong, have you ever tried testing it out but how do you perform in critical situations?
P V Sindhu: I have learnt a lot of things because it comes with a lot of experience to understand what's going in your head, and I make sure that I keep myself calm. Back then when I used to play a match and if I tend to lose it, then I get upset and you can see that on my face. Now that has changed I keep working on that. It's very important to work on your mental aspect. Overall I have improved and it's really good and I stay positive all the time. There are times when you have so many thoughts in your mind or it's just a bad day for you, it's just fine it's ok. It happens, it's not going to be forever.
Q: You may be going through a lot of emotions something really opposite to what is being interpreted. But you have to be in control.
P V Sindhu: Yes, you have to be the one who has to control yourself.
Q: Now let's talk about your physical aspect, in terms of becoming stronger. What are the aspects that you worked upon? In the run-up to a lot of games, now that it's not happening but has that also help that you are now injury-free. Get stronger on your training aspect. What have you been doing?
P V Sindhu: I think this was the time I got enough time to work on my skills and to train because generally, we don't have much time because we come from a tournament and then go back to another tournament back then we didn't have enough time as we were so busy. Now we have a lot of time since March we don't have any tournament still now. Injury wise endurance wise or skill-wise I've been working on every aspect of it. When you are competing at the Olympics you have to be in your best form. This was the right time, I've got enough time to train. Enough practice sessions to learn new skills. I'm very happy that we got enough time. A lot of people say that we miss tournaments that we couldn't play and do match practice. When you play the matches in big stadiums, you get used to it. You get to use to the spectators. But this time around we are playing the matches without spectators at a big stadium. So I am getting used to it so that I don't take much time after going there to actually know how it is.
Q: It's going to be a test of endurance and skills, have you been working on that? Because this strength of all your up opponents are different. As nationality change the skills and strengths changes.
P V Sindhu: I've been working on my endurance when we talk about other players yes they are really strong. Skill-wise when things come we have to be prepared for it. So I am working on skills and techniques and I am getting help in that too.