The Rio 2016 silver medallist, awarded the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year, was confident about more women bagging medals.
Indian badminton star PV Sindhu was adjudged the BBC Sportswoman of the Year for 2019, becoming the first recipient of the award after enjoying a great past year, where she became the first Indian to win a gold in the BWF World Championships.
“My message to all young sportswomen is that as women we have to believe in ourselves,” after winning the honour from BBC on the occasion of Women’s Day. “I'm sure soon there will be more Indian sportswomen winning medals for the country.”
The 24-year-old, ranked sixth in the world currently, became the first Indian badminton player to win an Olympic silver medal when she did so at Rio 2016 and has also won medals in five other World Championships.
PV Sindhu is pushing to go one better at the 2020 Olympics this year and felt that awards like these helped an athlete feel recognized for their efforts.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my supporters and fans that have supported me all along,” she said. “Awards like BBC Indian Sportswoman of the year give us motivation and encouragement to go much further."
Indian track and field legend, PT Usha was handed the Lifetime Achievement Award at the same event and she reflected on the sporting environment for athletes had changed in the country since her early days.
“We did not have any facilities when I started my career. I used to train alongside railway tracks and on beaches as there were no training spaces then,” she revealed.
“Things have changed a lot since then and I am very happy that BBC has taken this initiative, it will motivate the new generation to come into sports.”
The veteran Indian sprinter fell narrowly short of an Olympic medal at the Los Angeles Games in 1984 when she finished one-hundredth of a second adrift of the bronze medal in the 400m hurdles.
There have been five women over the years who have won Olympic medals for India over the years.
The first one to do so was Karnam Malleswari at Sydney 2000 when she won bronze in the 69kg category in weightlifting.
Rio 2016 saw two more medals by women - the only two for India in fact at the Games that year when PV Sindhu won silver in badminton while Sakshi Malik bagged bronze in the 58kg wrestling.