When you meet them, they try their best to talk normally despite the enormous tension they are under. Parents of shuttler P.V. Sindhu, who carries India's medal hope when she takes on London Olympics silver medallist and World No. 2 Yihan Wang, are confident that their daughter will win.
Sindhu's father P.V. Ramanna, who works for the Railways, commutes 60km everyday but still finds enough time to spend with his daughter, discuss various details of the game with her and drop and pick her from practice sessions.
"We need to keep a positive attitude. We do not let her know that we are tensed. Each time she calls before a match, we tell her to play her game. We tell her we are proud of her achievements and of her participating in the Olympics," says her mother Vijaya Ramanna.
The parents did not accompany Sindhu to Rio as they were sure that they would not get any time to spend with her. "At the Olympics, they have to live in the village and we would not get to meet her. So, we decided to stay back. Her coach Pullela Gopichand and the entire team are with her," says Vijaya.
They live in Kokapet in Ranga Reddy, away from the city. The Gopichand Badminton Academy, where Sindhu trains, is only 5km from here, her mother says, adding they occasionally go there to give her company when she trains. When Sindhu was preparing for Olympics, her father took a few months' break from work to be with her.
Vijaya says her daughter is hardly like anyone of her age. “She does not find the time to do what other kids of her age do as she is busy practising most of the time. The last five months have been really tough on her.”
She says Gopichand spends most of his time with the two medal hopefuls Sindhu and Srikanth Kidambi. "Gopi sir looks after her training and fitness. She has no time for herself and she is under tremendous pressure especially before a match. She has to watch her own games to understand where her faults lie. Sometimes she watches the game with her coach. She also discusses the same with her father.”
Her mother says Sindhu spends most of her time at the academy and comes home only to rest. “She is very down to earth and is friendly with everyone. The fame hasn't made her arrogant. I thank God for it.”
Despite her tight game schedules and training sessions, Sindhu has managed to complete her B.Com from St. Ann's Girls College in Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad. She is continuing with MBA in the same college.
Her teachers and collegemates are proud of her achievements. The college had organised a party for her when she left for the Olympics to wish her the best.
Her parents were also into sports, playing volleyball at the national level. Her father is an Arjuna Awardee. They understand the pressure sportspersons are under. Win or lose, Sindhu remains a champion to them.