Vijayawada, Aug 23 (IANS) For a second consecutive day on Tuesday, star shuttler P.V. Sindhu and her coach Pullela Gopichand basked in the glory of the silver medal she clinched in the women’s singles category at Rio Olympics.
A day after the Telangana government felicitated them for the historic achievement, the Andhra Pradesh government went out of the way to give them a rousing reception.
If Hyderabad, the hometown of Sindhu, had come out to accord her a hero’s welcome, Vijayawada, the native place of her mother, opened its heart to the star shuttler.
The Andhra Pradesh government left no stone unturned to give Sindhu and her coach a memorable reception. They were brought here by a special aircraft from Hyderabad in the morning.
At the Gannavaram Airport, they were accorded a warm welcome by the state ministers. As Sindhu’s parents have their roots in Andhra Pradesh, many of her relatives were among those who accorded her a warm welcome.
This was followed by a huge victory rally from the airport to the Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium.
Standing in a specially decorated open-top bus along with her coach Gopichand, parents and some ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Sindhu waved at the huge crowd. She kept displaying her Olympic medal proudly.
Amid the drum beats, the victory rally passed through different parts of the city before reaching the stadium, where she was given a rousing reception.
Keeping all protocols aside, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu reached the stadium much before the scheduled time to welcome Sindhu and Gopichand.
Naidu even held a racquet and played for some time with Sindhu on the dais, amid loud cheers by thousands of students.
Sindhu said the visit to Vijayawada was a trip down memory lane. “As a child I used to visit my grandparents here and play badminton,” she said and recalled that Gopichand spotted her playing the game and offered to train her.
Naidu, who presented a cheque of Rs 3 crore to Sindhu, lavished praise on her for becoming the first Indian woman to clinch a silver medal at the Olympics. He promised all help to the Telugu abidda’ and exuded confidence that next time she will come back with a gold medal.
Naidu has already announced a 1,000 square feet residential plot in Amaravati for Sindhu.
He recalled that as the chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh he had allotted five acres of land to Gopichand for his badminton academy in Hyderabad and Sindhu rose to greater height with the training at the same academy.
Naidu announced that sports city will be developed in Amaravati, the upcoming state capital. He said 15 acres of land will be allotted for Gopichand for his academy to produce world-class players.
The chief minister also announced Rs.25 lakh for shuttler Kidambi Srikant, who performed well at the Olympics. He also announced a Rs.25 lakh cash award for women’s hockey player E. Rajini.
Sindhu on Monday received another cheque of Rs.5 crore from Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who also offered her a residential plot in Hyderabad and a government job.