Srikanth Kidambi issues rallying cry ahead of World Championships

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Srikanth Kidambi issues rallying cry ahead of World Championships

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SportsCafe Desk

07/01/2017

Srikanth Kidambi has expressed his confidence in Indian shuttlers and went on to suggest that the Indian contingent had a chance to win medals at the upcoming World Championships in Glasgow. The 24-year old also credited Pullela Gopichand and his current coach Mulyo Handoyo for his success.

Srikanth Kidambi became the first Indian badminton player to bag back-to-back Super Series titles in the form of Indonesian Open and Australian Open and was felicitated for his achievement by Sports Minister Vijay Goel. Sai Praneeth, Ajay Jayaram, and Srikanth have already qualified for the BWF World Championship that will commence on August 21. 

"I think we all are playing well. I can't really say if we will definitely win a medal. We have a chance for sure but we have to be 100 per cent on that day and every match," Srikanth told PTI.

"We have to play consistently well, because it is such a big tournament and everyone prepares really hard." 

The World No. 8 also pointed out the competitive nature of men's badminton citing compatriot HS Prannoy's win against Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei at the Indonesian Open as an example.

 "I think everyone in top 30-35 are playing well. If you actually see HS Prannoy was 29 before Indonesia Open and see how he beat Chen Long and Lee Chong Wei in successive matches. So everyone in the top 35 are playing well," he added.

"The game now is definitely physical for sure. You have to be really alert on the court, move well, for an hour, so it is more physical then skills. But I think the level of the game is growing in the other players as well."

Srikanth who reached the finals of three successive Super Series believes he has struck the right form at the right time.

"It has been fantastic the last one month. Right from Singapore Open, it has been great. I have received more than what I have asked for, so I am very happy. I don't know how to express," said Srikanth, who also won the 2014 China Super Series Premier and 2015 India Super Series.

"I'm picking at the right time. I am really happy how I played last one month. I really want to train hard for the next few weeks ahead of the tournament and play consistently at the World championship."

The Indian shuttler narrowly lost the quarterfinal, to defending Champions Lin Dan, at the Rio Olympics and the 24-year-old revealed that the loss had haunted him for months but it eventually helped him make a strong comeback.

"I never lost the chance of being in team. After winning the China Open I won the India Open in 2015. I managed to win the Syed Modi in 2016 and then lost the Olympic quarters by just a point. So I have been playing well in the important tournaments," he said.

"The matches I lost were very close one, three sets. It is not easy but I always believed that if I can continue working hard, I can do well and I am happy everything worked for me."

The 24-year old had earlier credited his offensive style to Pullela Gopichand's inputs and Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo's training regime. Srikanth reiterated the statement while mentioning how his injury at the 2016 Olympics changed him for good.

"The injury part changed me. My approach towards training and the way I trained with Gopi sir and our new Indonesian coach Mulyo, it really worked for me," Srikanth said.

"I think we only had Gopi sir before and now we have Mulyo, who has seen the highest level of badminton and with both of their inputs, it has really helped me. Now two people are working to improve Indian badminton and it is really working for us."

Srikanth won the Australian Open title recently by defeating Olympic Champion Chen Long, against whom his head to head record was 5-0 before the Sydney final, in straight sets of 22-20 and 21-16 and suggested that the previous losses at the hands of the Chinese player proved valuable.

"Against Chen Long, I think how I was playing before that match gave me the confidence.

"Our last few matches were close, so I thought to give 10 per cent more. All earlier matches helped me to give that 10 per cent."

Srikanth termed his semi-final clash at the Indonesian Open against World No. 1 Son Wan Ho as one of the toughest of his career which the Guntur shuttler won 21-15, 14-21, 24-22.

"Semifinal match in Indonesia Open was a tough match. Son Wan was playing well. It was challenging. My strategy worked. Everything worked well for me," he concluded.

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