We’re sure you spent 110 minutes on the edge of your seats past Sunday as PV Sindhu saw the World Badminton Championships gold medal slip from her hands in Glasgow. The 19-21, 22-20, 20-22 final scoreline, in favour of her Japanese opponent Nozumi Okuhara, might have broken many a heart but it truly cemented the World No 4’s reputation as the fittest female athlete in Indian sports history.

Not too long ago, another badminton prodigy Saina Nehwal was hailed as the future of the sport in India but, all of 27 now, fitness issues have failed her pursuit of becoming the top player in the world. It’s exactly what Sindhu (22), unlike many other talented female Indian athletes of the past, has bettered on her way to becoming the first Indian female to win an Olympic silver badminton medal.

 

“Her daily schedule consists of three sessions, with the first one beginning at 4am. It continues till 6.30 or 7am. We can go through as many as a thousand shuttles per session,” says Gopichand, the coach with the Olympic medal touch,” her coach and former badminton star P Gopichand had revealed in an interview with the Hindustan Times last year.

A day in the life of the Hyderabad-born usually involves 100 push-ups and 200 sit-ups with 7-8 different variations. This is a part of her daily training that lasts anywhere between six and seven hours, for six days a week, before being taken care of by the physios.

“We do different things. Like two to three sets of ten 400m runs or one 2.4 km run. Some days, we push for a 10 km run. The point is to keep the training varied, not let the body get used to it and therefore stop growing,” said physio Kiran Challagundla.

This regime might be followed by many at Gopichand’s academy, but what sets Sindhu apart is the added training under the supervision of her father PV Ramana, who is himself the former captain of India’s volleyball team.

Raman accompanies his daughter for most of her training, as every morning session is followed by an added workout at the gym. “I personally believe that a good work is a must to become a top athlete. If the abs and back are strong, your movement will be faster on court,” he told the Times of India as core strengthening remains the topmost priority on his agenda.

Twice a week, the legs are the focus of his attention. “We should also strengthen the quads, hamstring and calf muscles. A work out on steps, squats and leg presses is necessary to stay fit and avoid injuries,” he added. 

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Keeping coach Gopichand in the loop about his daughter’s additional training, the former Indian skipper also has Sindhu undergo several stretching excercises and 70-100 volleyball jumps before she heads out of for the academy in the morning. And that’s precisely what goes into the making of a champion, along with a monitored diet and a well laid-out recovery plan for injuries.

During the final, Saina Nehwal, who herself won bronze at the tournament over the weekend, told the Indian Express that she ‘ran out of fuel’ even as a spectator, just many of us glued to our TV screens on Sunday. But that was certainly not the case with one person who was inspiring all this emotion. And now you know why.

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