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After Scaling World Number 1 Peak, Kidambi Srikanth Sets Sights on Asian Games And World Championship

In sports, players are bound to have fans and critics in equal proportion. But the latter category doesn’t really seem to exist when one talks about dashing India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth who recently touched the world number one ranking and made the nation proud. Not only that, he returned with a gold in mixed team event of the Commonwealth Games, to go with a silver in the singles.

Madhav Agarwal |

Updated:May 9, 2018, 10:19 AM IST
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After Scaling World Number 1 Peak, Kidambi Srikanth Sets Sights on Asian Games And World Championship
Kidambi Srikanth (Image: Twitter)
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New Delhi: In sports, players are bound to have fans and critics in equal proportion. But the latter category doesn’t really seem to exist when one talks about dashing India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth who recently touched the world number one ranking and made the nation proud. Not only that, he returned with a gold in mixed team event of the Commonwealth Games, to go with a silver in the singles.

Now the toast of the nation, Srikanth has imposed his authority on the world of badminton, which has landed him accolades galore. Recently the Guntur lad was awarded with the prestigious Padma Shri for his achievements on the court. In recognition of his efforts, the Andhra state government offered him the post of Deputy Collector in his hometown. Understanding the magnitude of the responsibility, without any iota of doubt, badminton remains Srikanth’s priority and he wants to do well Asian Games and World Championships.

“I’m humbled by all the accolades that I’m receiving at the moment. I think it just propels a sports person to go one step further, and give more than what he has. I hope that my feats inspire a lot of other youngsters to take up sports. In the end, you just want to live up to the expectations of everyone.

“I want to continue doing well in badminton and Asian Games and World Championships are my priority. All the accolades that I’m receiving are because of my game, so I’d want win more medals for the country and that’s my sole focus,” said Srikanth in an exclusive interview with News18 Sports.

The top spot in world ranking might be a big deal for the sports enthusiasts in the country, but Srikanth is not making a big deal out of it. Though happy, it doesn’t seem to be the ultimate goal for the 25-year-old. In fact, he just feels that he can focus more on performing well in the tournaments, rather than worrying about the numbers.

“Reaching the number one ranking has just eased my pressure a little bit. The moment you reach there, it’s monkey off your back. Now I won’t sweat over achieving that top spot, but will continue the good work without much pressure. But as I always say, I’m not really worried about the rankings, but my focus will be on doing well in the tournaments that I play in the future,” he added.

If one looks back into the past, just a couple of years, Srikanth was going through a horrendous time. He had just lost in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics against China’s Lin Dan, and what followed was a string of unpleasant injuries. Once a talented shuttler who rose to world no.3, was languishing at 31. To comeback from there was one Herculean task, but Srikanth did it in his own style.

“Injuries are something that you can’t predict. Post Rio Olympics, I went through a bad phase. Due to injuries I had to miss three months of action on the court. Here all the credit goes to my coaches and physio, Dr Kiran for taking care of me. I had the good fortune of working with coach Mulyo Handoyo who played a key role in turning things around for me. Then chief coach Pullela Gopichand was always by my side. Again, not thinking much about the downfall was important. It helped me come back stronger,” a relieved Srikanth reminisced.

In just a gap of a month Srikanth has played Malaysian superstar Lee Chong Wei thrice, and lost on two of those occasions. That has brought to the fore a new rivalry in the sport. There could be a few more tough tests awaiting the Indian, as former world no 2 Kento Momota has returned to the circuit with a bang and is looking at his threatening best. But a true champion that Srikanth is, all he is focused about is his game. In his quintessential manner, he does not want to give importance either to the rivalry or the player.

“I haven’t played Kento Momota in a very long time, but then he is definitely a force to reckon with. I would certainly watch some of his videos to know a bit more about his game if I’m playing him in a tournament. His presence has opened up the men’s singles category, and each and every player needs to be on their toes. There are some 8-10 good players on the circuit and again, if you want to do well, you need to be able to perform against every opponent. I always go by the philosophy that I have to improve myself and not think about what others are doing,” he concluded.
| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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