Pullela Gopichand’s diplomatic reply when asked whether Rio Olympic silver medallist P. V. Sindhu belonged to Andhra or Telangana was typical of his character. “I would like Sindhu to be called as an Indian first. And, let us all celebrate her fabulous achievement and not debate on this,” was his counter to the raging debate on Sindhu’s nativity.
In a way, this also seems to be the theme of the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments which are harping on and getting engaged in a hot race in not only in announcing cash incentives, house sites and jobs but now in hosting civic receptions in a big manner.
No doubt, it is a unique race which could have made even the legendary Usain Bolt sport a big smile! It is pretty apparent that Sindhu’s fabulous achievement is being claimed as their ‘very own’ as evident by the Telangana government giving Rs. 5 crore, A.P. Rs. 3 crore besides 1,000 square yard house site each and to cap it all, a government job. The A.P. government deputed two State Ministers besides a Member of Parliament to receive Sindhu at the airport on Monday morning to make a statement of sorts.
After the grand reception in Hyderabad, Vijayawada is gearing up to accord a rousing welcome to Sindhu onTuesday. She is being flown in a chartered flight from Hyderabad to Gannavaram airport at 8.40 a.m. Member of Parliament Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) will be accompanying her.
Sindhu will be attending a series of programme in Vijayawada in which city elite, including politicians cutting across party ideologies, will take part.
More than 50 vehicles with badminton lovers will be reaching the airport to receive her. From the airport to Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium, school and college students, standing on both sides of the road, will cheer the champion waving the tricolour.
Sindhu, along with coach Gopichand and parents P.V. Ramana and Vijayalakshmi, will proceed to IGMC stadium where she will be presented a cheque for Rs. 3 crore by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. A cheque for Rs. 50 lakh will be presented to Gopichand.
The stadium will also witness the presence of members of the A.P. Olympic Association and badminton fraternity of A.P. Later, the ace shuttler and her parents will take a look at the Command and Control Centre set up for monitoring Krishna pushkaram near the Durga Ghat before taking a holy dip. They will participate in ‘harati’ at Pavithra Sangamam near Ibrahimpatnam where Sindhu will be felicitated by the government.
“She will be presented a 2.5-foot-high statue of Lord Venkateswara made of precious stones and brought specially from Italy,” said P. R. Mohan, chairman of Sports Authority of AP.