Sindhu focuses on own mind game

Sports | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 30 Jul 2021

India's badminton superstar PV Sindhu is carrying the hopes of her country's 1.3 billion people, but meditation helps her stay calm.

The 26-year-old world champion, who won silver at the 2016 Rio Games, would become only the second Indian ever to win an individual Olympic gold if she triumphs this week in Tokyo.

With Rio champion Carolina Marin of Spain absent with a knee injury, Sindhu has as good a chance as any in an open field.

She booked her place in the quarter-finals with a 21-15, 21-13 win over Denmark's Mia Blichfeldt yesterday then revealed her secret for shutting out external noise.

"I meditate at times," Sindhu said. "I think that keeps my mind calm and keeps me going."

Mental health has been in the spotlight at the Games, with US gymnast Simone Biles pulling out of team and all-around events to preserve her well-being.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has also struggled with mental health, taking two months off from the sport before returning in Tokyo.

Sindhu avoided other stars' problems but talked of her own situation.

"I'm sure a lot of people are expecting a lot, but when I go out on the court I just have to give my best. If I thought about what others are thinking it would add pressure."

Sindhu needed just 41 minutes to dispatch 13th seed Blichfeldt and book her place in the last eight.

"I'm not thinking about playing in the final," she said. "I'm focusing on tomorrow."

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