Handling the Indian media is a far more difficult job than winning an Olympic silver, P.V. Sindhu found out, but she put on a smile and answered the same questions a hundred times.
Discipline was the key to the accomplishment, and Sindhu said that she was looking forward to getting back to her phone, ice cream and chocolates, not necessarily in that order.
Coach P. Gopi Chand, for whom the silver is a step up from the bronze in the London Olympics with Saina Nehwal, said he saw something special in Sindhu when she joined his academy in 2004, an impression that has only grown. “I knew she had an Olympic medal in her. I had the hunch. She has done it,” said Gopi.
Sindhu said she was at a loss for words to describe her emotions after taking silver.
“My ultimate aim was to get a medal at the Olympics. I thought it would be gold. Never mind that it is silver. She [Carolina Marin] played better.
“It could have been different, had I hung on. I gave two or three points, and that changed it.
“It has been a wonderful week, and I focused on one match at a time. I am proud of what I have done. I am on cloud nine.”
Both Sindhu and Gopi gratefully acknowledged the support from all quarters, the government, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the national federation, and everyone associated with the journey.
Gopi was particularly happy with the role Sindhu’s parents had played. “Her parents played a huge part. God has been kind. You need a bit of luck,” said Gopi.
The real celebrations will start once Sindhu returns home.
“I just want to go back to India,” said Sindhu, quite eager to see the joy on the faces of people, not least film icon Amitabh Bachchan, who tweeted that he wanted a selfie with her.