Hyderabad/Tripura, Aug 22 (IANS) Rio silver medallist shuttler P.V. Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar, the first Indian woman to take part in an Olympic gymnastics final, were accorded rousing receptions at their hometowns on Monday on return from the Olympics.
Hundreds of fans, officials, sports and games followers, admirers and well-wishers received Dipa and Sindhu with their respective coaches at the airport in Agartala and Hyderabad.
At the reception, the 23-year-old Tripura girl, who at the final event scored 15.066 points, a mere 0.150 less than eventual bronze winner Giulia Steingruber (15.216) of Switzerland, said: “I apologise to my countrymen for not getting any medal in the Rio Olympics. But I’ll definitely get medals in future international meets.”
“I will try extremely hard to get gold medals in the forthcoming Asian Games (2018 in Jakarta), Commonwealth Games (2018 in Australia) and 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I shall try to deliver my best in future,” said Dipa, who became the first Indian gymnast to qualify for Olympics in 52 years.
Praising her coach Nandi, she told the gathering to great applause: “Foreign coaches are not always the best; Indian coaches are also capable of delivering the goods.”
“The government and everyone must take forward the initiative of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Beti Khelao’ to motivate girls to develop themselves,” Dipa said.
Sindhu, who created history by becoming the first Indian woman to claim silver at the Olympics, said at Hyderabad she gave her best effort and took it match by match.
She believes the hard work put in during the past two months and many sacrifices she, her parents and her coach Pullela Gopichand made paid off.
“It was my first Olympics. I was very excited. My aim was to play well and give my 100 percent. I never thought of medal. We took it match by match and prepared the strategy,” said Sindhu, who settled for silver after going down fighting in the final against World No. 1, Spain’s Carolina Marin.
Asked if she had thought of going this far before the Olympics, the 21-year-old said she just believed in herself.
“I just believed in myself. I went and I gave my 100 percent. I did it. When I went to Olympics I did not think I will play finals but then I believed in myself. I feel I have to give full effort in every match and results will come automatically,” she added.
Sindhu said she was happy that her dream of winning an Olympic medal came true in her first appearance.
“I feel proud I have done this and got laurels to the country. It’s a great feeling. Responsibilities will always be high. Definitely I will keep up and move forward,” said the Hyderabadi.
She gave credit for her success to her parents and coach. “I am really thankful to parents. For me they made many sacrifices. I am here because of them.”
About her coach Pullela Gopichand, she said she was lucky to have him as the coach.
“The last two months we really worked very hard and made many sacrifices that paid off. There were changes in the game and that helped me lot,” she said when asked about the aggression she showed on the courts.