Hyderabad, Aug 22 (IANS) She belongs to India, said badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on the ongoing row over Olympic silver medalist P.V. Sindhu’s nativity.

He made the comment at a news conference when Sindhu was asked about the efforts by some people from both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to claim her as their “girl” following her historic achievement at the Rio Olympics.

“Sports is a great national integration policy as well and I think we should celebrate this,” the coach said.

Sindhu was born in Hyderabad, now a part of Telangana but her parents hail from Andhra Pradesh.

Gopichand said it was fantastic that various states praised Sindhu and supported her for her achievement.

The former All England champion said while many people will have more money than the sportspersons can get by winning medals, it’s only the sportspersons who can make the entire nation happy and proud.

“We are grateful for God’s grace and entire country for their prayers,” he said on Sindhu winning the Olympic silver medal.

The badminton coach stressed the need for encouraging all athletes representing the country in Olympics as for a country like India their qualification itself is an achievement. He believes 130 people going to Olympics was an achievement and the country should celebrate this and encourage them instead of making negative comments.

“We have somewhere lost the plot. Everybody who loses becomes thrown away and everybody who wins becomes super hero,” he said.

“Every athlete gone to Olympics gave his best short. We are not reasonable with our expectations. We hype too much about things without going into details, results which can come. At some events we don’t have chance to win at all. For 50 to 60 years certain countries are winning those events,” he added.

Gopichand observed that things started changing in India with 2010 Commonwealth Games as governments were taking keen interest in sports.

Stating that things are improving, he hoped that India can become sporting nation in few years.

He said the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the government were hugely supportive as top players benefited tremendously with the exposure they got.

Gopichand also acknowledged Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support during the Olympics motivated the players.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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