New Delhi: Kidambi Srikanth won a silver medal at the BWF World Championship 2021 in Huelva, becoming the first Indian badminton player to win a silver medal in the men’s singles event of the World Championship.
The 28-year-old shuttler from Guntur missed out on gold but is still happy to make it to the finals. “I am extremely happy. It has always been a dream for me to win a World Championship medal. I am very happy to have won silver.” Kidambi Srikanth told ANI in an interview.
Srikanth was looking very good in the final match against Loh Keen Yew of Singapore but still lost the match in straight games. In the opening game he was leading 11-7 but lost 15-21 and in the second game also he was leading 18-16 but lost the game 20-22.
“I think I made some unforced errors, I was leading 18-16 in the second game and then it became 18-20. Maybe if I had scored another point the game would have been different. But maybe I think I made some unforced errors. So, I will talk to my coach tomorrow and the day after and work on that,” Srikkanth said.
In the semi-finals, Srikanth was up against junior compatriot Lakshya Sen, where he registered a stiff three-game win to enter the final and Lakshya had to be content with the bronze medal.
“Frankly speaking, during the semi-finals, I was thinking of only one more match. I was not thinking of it as a semi-final or the first round of any tournament. I thought I had just won a match. That’s also why It’s because I want to keep things very simple and don’t put any pressure on myself and I was just happy that I played well and the fact that I won 5 matches in the tournament.”
India finished with one silver and one bronze, making it the country’s best performance in the men’s singles event of the BWF World Championships. Lakshya Sen is 20 years old and has given hope for a bright future in men’s badminton in the country.
“It is a very special feeling because it has never happened before and I am very happy that I am a part of it and Lakshya is also playing really well. We can definitely see and expect some good results from him in future. He is very young, hardworking and passionate. I am sure we will see some good results from him.”
The year 2017 was a great year for Indian men’s badminton as they won 7 Superseries titles, 4 of which were won by Kidambi Srikanth, but after that there was a big drop in their form as they could not win any tournament of the prestigious in 2017, 2018. Couldn’t win Even failed to qualify for Tokyo Olympics. People bid him goodbye, Srikanth made a spectacular comeback at the World Championships and reached the finals.
“I really don’t want to compare myself with 2017 at the moment because right now I am just back from the World Championships with a silver medal. At this point I am very high on confidence. I feel great. Physically also I am very happy. Feeling good. I have been able to move well in a positive court for the past few weeks and I really don’t want to compare myself with 2017. I don’t want to say at the level where I was in 2017 I want to say that I am very happy where I am and I will definitely try and push myself harder. Next year is Commonwealth Games and Asian Games and next year is another World Championship. I will definitely work and will try to win medals in all those events next year,” Srikanth told ANI.
It is special for any sportsperson to have the distinction of representing the country and winning a medal in a tournament and doing so in a world championship is even more special.
“Wherever you are in any part of the world, it is always a special feeling to see the Indian flag being hoisted. As an Indian, you get goosebumps when you see this Indian flag rising and flying high. I would have loved if it was gold but I was still very happy because I could fly that Indian flag high and I always dreamed of standing on that podium and winning a medal and it’s like a big dream come true for me. “
“Definitely yes, it definitely felt like I missed out on a chance to win the gold but this loss will really motivate me to try more and try for that gold next time,” he said.
Srikanth’s next target now is the India Open tournament which he won in 2015 and since then he is yet to win it again. The India Open tournament starts on January 11 and this is his next immediate target as it has some good memories attached to it.
“India Open is one tournament where I have always done well and I am really looking forward to playing the tournament again. Also because of my good performance in the last few months and it is a tournament that I really believe in And (hopefully) to win that tournament as well,” Srikkanth said.
“I really want to thank a lot of people because when you are doing well so many people will support you. Supported me. Badminton Association of India, SAI and TOPS have been very supportive. They have always helped me and supported me in whatever I needed for the sport. Even after not qualifying for the Olympics, they worked for the last three months. Supported me throughout. They took really good care of me and then without them it would not have been possible for the coaches and physiotherapists in the academy. They all have been really helpful. They helped me get back to my 100 percent fitness level. Over the long tours, he has been very helpful. He took really good care of my physical condition. He made sure there was recovery in between matches. He made sure I was fully fit for the next day’s matches. So , I think it is a teamwork. I am happy that I am doing I was able to prove them right and I want to thank them for believing in me.”
First published:December 22, 2021, 6:08 pm