India's new pin-up badminton star Kidambi Srikanth believes that India's dominance in world badminton now is well and truly established as even the once-dominant Chinese shuttlers now fear them on the court. He also admitted that he aims to break his knock-out jinx in the major tournaments in 2018.
2016 was undoubtedly a landmark year for Indian badminton, but what has transpired in 2017 so far, has managed to raise the bar to a whole new level. The 23-year-old Guntur lad has been in magnificent form of late and not only has he found a place in the elite club by winning four Superseries events in a year, but he also risen to the World No. 2 position that made him the fourth Indian after Prakash Padukone, Saina Nehwal, and PV Sindhu to reach that level.
While no one can doubt Srikanth’s perseverance as one of the key factors for the achievements, coach Pullela Gopichand’s contribution has been more than exemplary. Srikanth gives a major part of the credit to the chief national coach and his mentor for turning his career around and helping Indian badminton reach a level, where even the Chinese shuttlers are now afraid of them.
"After Gopi Bahiya retired, he wanted us to achieve whatever he wanted to achieve. If Gopi Bhaiya didn't start the academy, we won't be here. He is a very strict coach, but a friend to us also. He has the experience to guide us through tough situations. Now I think we have reached a level where Chinese are scared of us," Srikanth said while receiving CNN-News18 Indian of the Year 2017 in the sports category.
Srikanth’s redemption had started last year when he managed to enter the quarter-finals of the Rio Olympics but lost to eventual champion, Lin Dan. It took a mental toll on him and he took a brief break from the game, which was followed by an unfortunate injury that needed him to break a lot of sweat to make a comeback. Yesterday, the 23-year-old revealed that he took inspiration from that loss and improved himself this year which worked in his favour.
"It was a tough loss against Lin and I couldn't take it. It was really heartbreaking. I kept telling myself, that I have to work hard. Lin Dan played 5 percent better in Olympics and he won. And then I played 10 percent better this year and it worked in my
After the Rio loss last year, Srikanth lost to World No.1 Viktor Axelsen in the quarter-finals of the BWF World Championship too, in Glasgow earlier this year. He wants to get rid of losing the plot at the knock-out stages and has set his eyes on winning a major tournament like World Championship in 2018.
"I have played a lot of quarterfinals in the major events. I want to really win a medal at them now," he concluded.
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