Kidambi Srikanth was the Indian representative in the men’s singles category at Rio 2016 and he put on an impressive showing, entering the round of 16. However, he lost a closely fought encounter to Lin Dan in the quarter-finals and Srikanth acknowledged that the loss had hit him hard.
Srikanth had a memorable Olympics last year as he first beat Lino Munoz and Henri Hurskainen, before upsetting The World No 5 Jan O Jorgensen 21-19, 21-19 to make the quarter-finals. But Srikanth was narrowly beaten by the two-time Olympic Champion from China and the former world no.3 acknowledged the disappointment of defeat to TOI saying that he had spent sleepless nights in the wake of the result.
"The Olympics is the most important stage for any player in their career. I think I really lost a medal by two points there. That still keeps me awake at nights. After losing in Rio, I didn't sleep for many nights. I just kept thinking about that quarter-final.
Srikanth was so affected by his loss that he said it changed him as a player.
“But that changed me as a player. I lost the most important match of my career, and there won't be anything bigger than that for sure. I stopped thinking after a
But to his credit, the 24-year old Srikanth has managed to put that agonizing loss behind him and even featured in a historic Singapore Open final against compatriot Sai Praneeth, the first time two Indians reached the finals of a Superseries event.
Srikanth was laid low by injuries after the Olympics and he spoke of his comeback to fitness saying, “You need to have a base fitness before you start playing tournaments. I was lacking that before I started playing international tournaments in March. Until the Olympics, I had about 70-75% of base fitness throughout the year, and I was able to train for two weeks before a tournament to get back to 90-95% base fitness. But over the past six-odd months I was at about 15-20% base fitness, so I had to really push myself to get to 75-80%. It was satisfying to play well in Singapore, though the end result could have been a lot better. That said, going into the tournament I didn't believe that I would be in the final. A quarter-final would do, was the way I looked at it. Doing well in Singapore gave me a lot of confidence."
Prior to his injury though, Srikanth had a hugely successful year in 2016, apart from his Olympic exploits he won two gold medals in the men's team and singles events at the South Asian Games.