Kidambi Srikanth has stated that winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games is more important than securing the World No.1 ranking. The star Indian shuttler has also added that the Chinese dominance on the badminton circuit has come to an end and the field is wide open at the moment.
Srikanth grabbed the attention of the world with his amazing display last years and became the first Indian badminton player to secure four Superseries titles in a calendar year. However, an injury concern at the end of the year affected his performance and he couldn’t go past quarterfinals of the China Open and Hong Kong Open. And now with CWG dates are coming fast, Srikanth has stated that the gold medal matters more for him rather than becoming the World No 1.
"For me, winning a medal at the Commonwealth and Asian Games is more important. If I wanted to be World No 1 and not win tournaments (CWG or Asiad), I would have pushed myself to play China and Hong Kong Open last year after the French Open," Srikanth said at the India Today Conclave on Friday, reported TOI.
"And the kind of form I was in, I would have managed to play quarterfinals in both the events and I would have
"I don't want to play a quarterfinal of a tournament and become World No 1. I want to win the tournament and be World No 1.”
Indian shuttlers, in last two years, have managed to perform consistently at the highest level and the Chinese dominance of continuously winning medals at the world stage appears to be coming to an end. The players like Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, and Srikanth are the main players in the country with all of them having won Superseries titles. That’s why Srikanth believes that India is a strong force on the world stage at the moment with five men's singles players in the top-20.
"China has been the dominating force at the Beijing Olympics (2008) and London Olympics (2012). They won all the five gold medals (men's singles and doubles, women's singles and doubles, mixed doubles) but now the field is more open," Srikanth said.
"If you see in top men' singles, at the top you have Viktor (Axelsen) from Denmark, second is Lee Chong Wei, who is from Malaysia, I am at number 3 while China's Chen Long is ranked four. So there are four different people representing four different countries in the top four. I would say European nations are doing well and we are the only nation (India) to have five men's singles player in top 20.”
Two Indian players, Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu, have won two medals in the Olympics, but they failed to do the same at the All England Open. Only two players Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand remained successful in winning the prestigious title and Srikanth wants to do the same this time around.
"The All England is one of the biggest events because it has history of 100 years attached to it. I would say winning these tournaments, will definitely give the player legendary status," he said.
When he was asked that if he finds extra motivation from Gopichand to win All England, the 25-year-old said, "It's not just about All England but for my every victory, the whole credit goes to him. I would love to have him there sitting there as my coach if I get to win the All England.”