Telangana, AP compete to claim Sindhu; coach Gopichand says she belongs to India

Even newspapers have joined in with photos of Sindhu and her father participating in Telangana or Andhra rituals
Telangana, AP compete to claim Sindhu; coach Gopichand says she belongs to India
Telangana, AP compete to claim Sindhu; coach Gopichand says she belongs to India
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P V Sindhu may have won the Silver medal at the Rio Olympics and won our hearts, but she is now stuck in an ongoing tussle between the governments of Telangana and Andhra to claim her as their own.

The Telangana government on Monday ensured a grand reception for the first Indian woman to win an individual Olympic silver medal right from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, where she landed with her coach Pullela Gopichand.

State IT minister KT Rama Rao, along with two district collectors and sports officials personally received Sindhu at the airport.

Even as large crowds followed her from the airport, a waving and smiling Sindhu made her way in an open-top bus to the Gachibowli Sports Stadium, where she was felicitated with mementos and presented with cash awards from the Telangana government and others. 

Read - Triumphant return to Hyderabad for PV Sindhu India's star at Rio Olympics

The Telangana government has also announced a cash prize of Rs 5 crore for the shuttler as well as 1000 sq yards of land and a job offer.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao also announced an award of Rs 1 crore for the Pullela Gopichand badminton academy.

Meanwhile, Andhra's case for claiming Sindhu is relatively simpler. 

In 2003, when Gopichand was pitching his idea of a badminton academy, then-Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu gave him five acres of land.

Supporters of Naidu suggest that while the Telangana government may try to lay claim on Sindhu's success, it was Naidu's decision that led to her success.

On Tuesday, Sindhu is expected to arrive in Vijayawada in the morning. After reaching the Gannavaram airport, a similar rally from the airport will lead her to the Indira Priyadarshini Auditorium, where Naidu plans to personally felicitate her. 

The Andhra government has also announced an award of Rs 3 crore for the player.

The whole spat has not gone unnoticed as headlines like 'Is Sindhu An Andhra Ammayi Or Telangana Bidda?' and How Andhra-Telangana rivalry has enriched PV Sindhu by crores have already sprung up.

Even the local media did not hold back as The Hindustan Times reported:

Popular Telugu daily Eenadu, in its Hyderabad edition, published photographs of Sindhu participating in the recently held Bonaalu, a typical Telangana festival, to prove her Telangana identity. On the other hand, another popular daily Andhra Jyothy carried a photograph of Sindhu’s father PV Ramana performing special prayers for his daughter at the temple of their family deity at Ratnalamma Kunta village in West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, indicating that it was his native place.

The whole spat escalated to the point where the question found its way into a news conference with Sindhu and Gopichand.

However, Gopichand had the perfect answer.

When a reporter sought Sindhu's views on the bragging rights, Gopichand jumped in to try and put an end to the regional controversy by simply stating, "Well, I can only say she (Sindhu) belongs to India. We should celebrate the fact that all of them (states) want to be part of the celebration and support us."

Skip to the 32:00 minute mark for Gopichand's response.

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