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Padukone to join Sindhu’s setup as mentor


In her quest for a third consecutive Olympic medal, PV Sindhu has enlisted Indian badminton great Prakash Padukone as her mentor. While the Hyderabadi has been visiting the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) in Bengaluru since late August, as reported by this newspaper earlier, the two-time Olympic medalist made the information public on Saturday.

PV Sindhu leaves India after losing women’s singles (PTI) badminton quarterfinal

“For those wondering and constantly asking me, the cat is finally out of the bag! Prakash sir is taking the role of mentor in my setup. I started training with him at the end of August, and it’s been uphill ever since. He is more than a mentor; he is my guide, my guru, and above all, a true friend,” Sindhu tweeted.

“I sincerely believe he has the magic to get the best out of my game. I am so grateful that he called me once when I was in Japan, and we have built on that connection very well. Man, I’m pumped! Looking forward to training with you! Let’s go to work.”

Sindhu is trying to turn around the worst season of her career. After returning to the circuit in January following a six-month injury layoff, the 28-year-old has failed to hit the best stages of her career-defining sport.

Barring the Spanish Masters in April, where Sindhu reached the final, the former world champion’s first few rounds of competition left her in the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time once since 2016.

In her bid to achieve the rise to the top, she parted ways with Korean Park Tae-sang, hired former English champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim as her coach before embarking on her travels to Bengaluru.

Sindhu’s move is reminiscent of former world No.1 Saina Nehwal’s move from Hyderabad to Bengaluru in 2014. It was under PPBA head coach Vimal Kumar that Saina achieved world No.1 status, reached the All England Open final and she became the first Indian coach. to reach the final of the World Championships — all in 2015.

“Changing coaches will help if you feel that something is not working under a certain coach. A change of atmosphere also helps sometimes. You must try it. What I felt at that point in time was that I shouldn’t feel bad at the end of my career that I didn’t try something new. I shouldn’t have that regret,” Saina told HT in September.

“I tried it and I reached number 1 and the final of the World Championship after playing five quarter-finals. Somewhere my mind stopped thinking if I can ever cross the quarter finals. But I did it after the change. It is required for a player. And why not? It is your career. After all, you are the one who will sit and think about what I have achieved in my career. So changes are always good if they help.”

The change is already visible in Sindhu’s performances of late. Although still far from his best, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion’s results have improved over the past few months.

The five-time World Championships medalist reached the quarter-finals at the Asian Games, the semi-finals of the Arctic Open and Denmark. After falling to No.17 in the rankings – for the first time since 2015 – Sindhu has made her way back to world No.11.

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