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After Brush With Injuries, Sikki Reddy Pleased With CWG Bronze Medal

The Indian shuttlers have made the country proud once again after they brought home 10 medals from the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast. Expectedly, it was the singles players that hogged the limelight, as Saina Nehwal won the gold, while PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth settled for a silver each. Then there was a gold in mixed team event too.

Madhav Agarwal | News18 Sports

Updated:April 26, 2018, 12:15 PM IST
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After Brush With Injuries, Sikki Reddy Pleased With CWG Bronze Medal
India's Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy with the Bronze Medal at the 2018 CWG (Image: Sikki Reddy/Twitter)
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New Delhi: The Indian shuttlers have made the country proud once again after they brought home 10 medals from the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast. Expectedly, it was the singles players that hogged the limelight, as Saina Nehwal won the gold, while PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth settled for a silver each. Then there was a gold in mixed team event too.

But no one seems to be talking about the bronze bagged by the women’s doubles pair of Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa. That might not be the best result for the world no. 25 pairing, but one-half of the team, Sikki Reddy is mighty pleased with her effort.

The 24-year-old Sikki won a gold in the mixed team event too, in just her first appearance at the CWG, has a reason to celebrate. Speaking exclusively to News18 Sports, Sikki said that though she missed out on the second gold, she is happy with her performance at the Games.

“This was my first Commonwealth Games so winning there is very special. Winning a gold in the mixed team event was an indication that we are making a steady progress. Unfortunately, we couldn’t win a gold in women’s doubles as we faced a tough Malaysian pair in the semis. Had we won that match, Ashwini and I would have bagged a gold there too.”

Not many know that Sikki started her career as a singles player, but a string of knee injuries forced her to switch to doubles. She had as many as four operations on her left knee that forced her to quit the preferred category. But it was her love for the sport that made her comeback on the court.

“I was the national champion in all the categories of all the age groups, be it U-13, U-16 or U-19. I used to play singles and doubles both. But singles was my priority. In the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2008, I played the final against Saina Nehwal, when she was world no. 8. I gave her a tough fight. But in 2009, I was playing a junior ranking tournament in Nellore, and I twisted my knee over there. Things went downhill from after that.

"Then after that I also had an ACL tear, and complications followed thereafter. I have had four surgeries on my left knee. I never wanted to doubles but my knee couldn’t take so much pressure. The doctors even asked me to stop playing the sport. That’s when I started playing doubles."

The transition to doubles wasn’t easy either. Sikki was on a constant lookout for partners, and as ill-fate would have it, she didn’t have a permanent partner in women’s doubles and mixed doubles until last year, when Malaysian coach Kim Tan Her took over.

“Even after coming into doubles, the struggle was not over as I had to look for a decent partner for myself that didn’t happen for the longest of time. In fact, I didn’t take part in any tournament for one year, but that’s when I learnt the nuances of doubles. After coach Kim came, it was decided, who I’ll be partnering,” Sikki added.

For Sikki, all the good that’s been happening in doubles is courtesy coach Kim, who changed the entire setup. Right from coaching methods, to partners, he did it all. And he got the results to back his decisions.

“Before talking about the contribution of Kim Tan Her, we should thank him for being with us all the time. These coaches leave behind their families and give it their best. When he came here, he made a lot of changes. Earlier, the partnerships were decided by the players, but after his arrival, it was the coaches’ call to form a team. I think the biggest change has been in mixed doubles that coach Kim has brought.”

After a successful stint at CWG, the shuttler only hopes that doubles in India will continue to grow at a rapid pace, and a lot of youngsters will come forward and take up the sport.

“I can only hope that doubles will come to the limelight. As you know that doubles plays an important role in the team events and three out of the five matches are doubles. So, it’s high time we give due importance to doubles. If you see, all the categories are doing well from the last couple of years. If we continue to grow, it’ll be a phenomenal change,” she concluded.
| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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