Ace India shuttler PV Sindhu is thankful to all those responsible for conferring her the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the republic of India, and says the gesture promises to increase her responsibilities as India’s premier badminton player.
“I felt very happy. I am very thankful to the Ministry, the Badminton Association of India, the Sports Authority of India and also the government of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana because they really have been very supportive. I think it is a very good encouragement to sports. I am very thankful,” Sindhu told ANI.
“Responsibilities would definitely increase, but these kinds of awards give us a lot of encouragement to do a lot more.”
Sindhu, the highest-ranked Indian shuttler in singles competition won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Last year, she created history to become the first Indian to win badminton World Championships gold by beating familiar rival Nozomi Okuhara in a fairly one-sided clash.
Two years after being robbed off the gold by Okuhara in an epic 110-minute final at Glasgow that went down as one of the greatest battles in badminton history, Sindhu triumphed over her opponent to win the summit clash a resounding 21-7, 21-7.
Joining Sindhu in the list of prominent awardees was boxer Mary Kom, who was bestowed upon the Padma Vibhushan. Mary, member of Rajya Sabha, is India’s most decorated boxer having won six World Championship gold medals to go with two bronze medals. She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 and is the first Indian woman boxer to win gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Along with Mary and Sindhu, six other sportspersons were awarded the Padma Shri, namely former India pacer Zaheer Khan, captain of India women’s hockey team Rani Rampal, former men’s hockey player MP Ganesh, ace shooter Jitu Rai, archer Tarundeep Rai and former Indian women’s football team captain Oinam Bembem Devi.